Seek first to understand, then to be understood

People really don't listen.

People are just either not that interested in what you're saying, or they are too focused on their own agenda. It's ridiculous to see two people acting like they can’t really hear each other — by choice.

There’s a proverb, “Listen, or thy tongue will make thee deaf”

In "The Significance Principle," authors Les Carter and Jim Underwood posit that we should listen past where the other person has finished. We should even pause before answering. Let them get their point, their story, their compliment, and even their criticism out completely. Then, before preparing your response, ask more about what they said. Get engaged. Understand what and why.

Stephen Covey defines this as the fifth habit in his bestselling book, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People." It's critical: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Seeking real understanding affirms the other person and what they have to say. That's what they want. That's what we all want — to be understood, valued, and affirmed.

What if you seek to understand but others don't? Two things come to mind. One person truly listening is generally better than none. More important, one person listening generally leads to two people listening. Let’s be honest, if I honor you with my ears, you’ll be more likely to reciprocate. Others learn the habit through our example.

Do you want to be a better leader, salesperson, parent, spouse, or friend? Be a better listener first. Let’s avoid the habit of a collective monologue by really listening — with the intent of understanding, appreciating, and affirming.

Every human has a need, which is “to be heard.” Until and unless you don’t listen to what the other person has to say how do you expect that the person will listen to you when you have a problem!

When people talk we rarely listen because we are too busy in our parallel universe thinking about the problems we have. Either we ignore them because our mind is wandering off in other galaxies or we just pretend to listen.

Sometimes we only pay attention to a few words or just a part of the conversation which interests us and avoid the sentiments and feelings of the other person.

If someone really wants to have listened then he or she should be a good listener first.
There are three basic fundamentals to be a good listener.
1. To connect with a person you have to be physically, mentally, and emotionally present in the conversation.
2. Try to put yourself in someone else's shoes and then think about what they really want from you.
3. Act as a mirror. When I say 'mirror' it shouldn't be like you are doing the same what the other person is doing. It means, don't judge

Communication is really important. Listening along with reading, writing and speaking is also an element of communication.
People tend to learn How to speak, write, or read but the most important part they forget to learn is 'How to listen'

Have you ever come across a person who is deaf.
Well, there are people who are deaf by birth and some become deaf when they face an incident in life which they haven't expected. The person who becomes deaf after an incident will only tell you what he or she knows. The possibilities in their life to listen more is gone.
But if God has given us ears and I pray that there shouldn't be any such tragedy in anyone's life, then to be a good listener should be the first priority to learn how to communicate effectively.

The ability to hear is a gift. The willingness to listen is a choice.


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