Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Pleasant Fantasy - Everyone on Earth Becomes an Effective Listener

Today I did something I've never done before. I imagined what the world would be like if every person on Earth was a highly skilled listener.

Bringing that image into focus wasn't easy.

I'm a trained listener myself, and I've read all the best books about listening. For over 25 years, I've designed assessments for listening skills, and I've created and conducted training courses on listening. I've written articles on listening, including these posts:

The Top 5 Personal Strengths that Support Effective Listening

The Real Secret of Mark Goulston's Book, "Just Listen"

Why Listening Is the Master Skill

Listening - The No. 1 People Skill

I've invested a generous chunk of my life trying to help people improve their listening skills, but I had never imagined what it would be like if I (and others who do what I do) actually succeeded - if everyone in the world took all this writing and teaching seriously.

People would...
  • Pay attention to each other
  • Invest more in face-to-face conversations...and less in social media
  • Stop interrupting each other
  • Show more interest in what others have to say
  • Check to be sure they "get the message" right
  • Learn more from each other
  • Resolve conflicts more often
The world would be a less primitive place. There would be more understanding and appreciation - and less resentment.

As I continued my day-dream, I couldn't imagine any downsides. Such as, if everyone were great listeners, would people express themselves less? Would they become more passive? I don't think so. I don't think there would be any downsides to a listening revolution.

Actually, this break from reality refreshed my mind and boosted my sense of optimism for helping people improve their listening skills. From time to time I do meet a really good listener, and it's such a joy to talk to that person.

And so back to work. These days an important part of what I'm doing is to help parents build a solid bridge of communication between them and their teenager, which is the essential foundation for maintaining a loving relationship and helping a teen grow up to be a happy, successful adult.

I let my imagination play with that image, and it makes my work easier.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2012. Building Personal Strength .

1 comment:

Beth said...

I wholeheartedly agree. Living with a dear person who is severely hearing-impaired has made me more sensitive to learning how to make sure true communication takes place -- not just talk. At least one of our grandkids has taken it to heart. She loves her granddad dearly enough to change her normal super fast speech pattern and take time to look directly at him when she speaks, talk a little slower, and ennunciate clearly. This has not only built a beautiful relationship, but has given her an edge in college and with the wider world.

Denny -- I get confused by how to sign off on comments sometimes -- looks like the "Google" sign-off leads to an old Blogger profile (which I've tried to fix). Anyway, just so you know, my blog's correct address is -- Beth