spent much of my life waiting my turn. I've thought
of what I want to say, then I've waited politely for there
to be a pause in the conversation so that I could make my
contribution and say what I want to say. The way
I've figured, the more I say that's wise or relevant or
witty, the more others will respect me and want to spend
more time talking to me.
worked well as a strategy as long as I stayed ignorant to
the results of such a way of acting. It wasn't until
I really needed other people to listen to me and I found
out that they were just waiting their turns, too, that I
realized just how unfulfilling those conversations can
be. Listening--truly and actively listening--can be
one of the most difficult tasks we can undertake, but also
one of the most important.
found since I've learned to really listen that I learn so
much more about other people. Before, I learned only
what they had to think about a certain topic. But
when someone notices me really listening, they're much
more able and willing to open up about deeper things,
things that they've wished that they could talk about--but
since they haven't found too many people who actually
listen, they haven't had a chance to open up truly and
deeply. And by listening, I help them. Just by
listening. It's an awesome thought, isn't it?
next time you're involved in a conversation, try
this: listen closely to what the other person
says. If you have a response ready as soon as the
other person is done, then you haven't listened
completely, for you've been formulating your reply.
If you have to wait a few seconds to let their words sink
in before you reply, then you have listened.
if they ask why you're not responding and you say
something like "I'm just thinking about what you
said," think of the positive effect that this sort of
respect for their words and ideas will have on them!