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Listening and Understanding

Posted by Cheri Kuhn on
Listening and Understanding

As humans, at work and at home, we often believe it is imperative that those in our circles understand us, because if they could just understand what we want and our point of view they would be as dedicated and passionate as we are toward that end. If this sound familiar, it might be time to do some active listening.

Given the above, how much effort do we put forth to truly understanding someone else’s opinion or point of view? Our lizard brains are quick to jump in and protect our tender egos at the first sign someone might disagree with our views or decisions. Learning to cage that lizard and be open to new and different ideas and viewpoints is a powerful tool. So, what can we do to improve?

Here are three tips to help you get started: 

  1. Listen to others with the intent to understand what they are staying. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, just work to understand. 
  2. Paraphrase what others are saying back to them. This not only acknowledges that you’re listening to them intently, but can also help build trust. 
  3. Avoid offering unsolicited advice. Too often we listen with the intent to respond. This shows a lack of empathy which ultimately erodes understanding. 

When we engage with others we open our minds and our hearts to truly understanding them. It is only then that we can start to build trust and understanding with one another. Being an active and engaged listener is a great goal for 2023! 

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