Listening is the first step to comprehension. However, most of us grow up learning to speak, but not really learning to listen. We study rhetorics, but not active listening. Unless we arrive at the point in life where coaching or counselling becomes the topic of our studies. We then learn to reflect, summarise and paraphrase; attune ourselves with the speaker, pay attention, ask open-ended questions and clarify. But let’s face it – a good counsellor or coach would probably decide on this path pretty late in their lives. So what can we do to benefit from a better understanding of each other without a professional training on the topic? How can we learn to listen better in our daily lives?
Luckily, we live in the age of connectedness and free access to online education. In this article, I have collected my favourite videos on the topic in hope that some of them, if not all, will help you listen better.
“Go on…” – this first video comes from the School of Life – one of my favourite YouTube Channels and schools of thought. It features four simple tips on how to listen better:
“Conversational competence” – this second contains some really interesting stats on listening, thinking and talking; setting aside oneself (assuming you are there to learn) with ten good tips on effective communication from the fantastic Celeste Headlee:
“Yes, and…” – in this one, Scott Pierce talks about deeper aspects of listening, acceptance and following on from the previous message, on being fully present and actively listening to someone’s message:
“Speaking powerfully” is an additional video I would recommend, just because since we already have so much information about speaking out there, why not use it to learn to listen too? Here’s Julian Treasure with his great talk on powerful speaking with some aspects important to listening he calls “seven deadly sins of speaking”.
“Sit up in your charge, grab a drink from the fridge” – a very important talk by Pastor John Gray about that place in the middle of us, between two opposing views on a bridge where we exchange the ideas without the dear of being judged. A fantastic metaphor to the art of listening in the current times.
The more we attune ourselves with each other, the easier we meet in the middle. I hope you will find the above videos useful and share your own tips. Mine is seemingly simple, but really hard to implement: fall in love with the silence. Listen to the silence. Make yourself at home in the uncomfortable time taken up by it in our daily interactions. Count a second or two in your head and only then speak up. Listen to the silence between people and learn from it.
Photo by @kkiliszek for VoxelHub