Do you ever find that you are not getting anywhere when trying to resolve an issue with someone? One of the reasons could be that you have not been heard or you have not heard what the other person has to say. How can you resolve something when you don’t have a clear understanding of what is involved?
In discussions or conversations with family, work colleagues or friends where communication is key, we need to listen, and in order to listen attentively, you must be completely silent. This includes silencing your mind from other thoughts, and listening to understand, not listening to defend yourself or to accuse. Listening because your relationship depends upon it. This does not mean that you have to agree, it just means that you have to accept that the other person’s opinion may have some value.
There are some situations where listening is the best thing you can do: think about a time when a friend called to tell you about something that happened to him/her. They don’t really want advice, nor do they want your opinion. They just need you to listen. After they have had your ear and told you their story, they feel SOOO much better. You have been a good friend because you have listened without interrupting and without criticism. You have just been there, almost silent except for maybe an occasional sound of encouragement or empathy.
I was quoted recently in the May issue of Consumer Reports on how to resolve some family fights around finances:
Listen actively. “Mirroring what someone said in your own words allows them to feel heard and to say whether you’re understanding each other,” says Jennifer Safian, a divorce mediator based in New York City.
While silence and listening seem to inspire passivity, they are in fact very powerful actions that you can use every day and everywhere to improve communication, resolve conflicts, heal broken relationships, provide support and encouragement in all aspects of your life.
Do you remember a time where being silent, listening and being heard were helpful to you? Please feel free to share your story in the box below.
jennifer safian. divorce and family mediator divorce and family mediation upper east side of manhattan (nyc) new york, ny (212) 472-8626 firstname.lastname@example.org connect on