with Guest Blogger Aline Defiglia LCSW
Hearing + suspenseful waiting = Listening
“True human sincerity, true transparency…It is a rare and difficult thing; and so much of it depends on the person who is listening to us!
And when it comes our turn to listen, which of these are we…?”
Effective listening involves three main skills: Paying Attention, Following, and Reflecting.
Attention is giving your physical attention to another person, listening with your whole body. To attend to someone is to have an open posture, lean in, maintain eye contact and remain in relaxed alertness.
85% of communication is non-verbal!
Following means to stay out of the other person’s way so you can discover how they view their situation. Invite someone to speak, encourage them with short, minimal phrases, ask open-ended questions (infrequently!), and practice the value of silence.
Reflecting is when the listener restates the feeling or content of what the speaker has communicated and does so in a way that demonstrates understanding and acceptance.
What You Can Expect
There are four stages in the process of improving communication. First, when a person learns about the roadblocks they have been sending all their life, they feel guilty. Then, when they try these new skills, it seems wooden and artificial, and so the person feels phony. However, after using these new techniques for a few weeks, people often become quite skillful at them. Finally, after using them for a couple of years, it becomes so integrated into the person’s life style that they do it well and without conscious awareness.
The following was excerpted in part from People Skills: How to assert yourself, listen to others, and resolve conflicts by: Robert Bolton, Ph.D. This article is the third in a five part series about clean living through toxin-free communication. To read Part I about Nonviolent Communication, click here. To read Part II about Emotional Liberation, click here.