A gathering place for readers, writers, and other advocates for a more just world

Here is something I read today on Nick Kristof’s blog:

After one presentation, a student eagerly exclaimed, “I’m a doer and I just want to do something.” Her statement implies the question: How? How do you make an impact in an environment that is equally empowering and overwhelming? The answer, I believe, starts with an old-fashioned skill: Listening. Listening enables trust, and trust is the foundation of positive change. We need to slow down and listen more before doing….Across this spectrum of making a difference, one thing is common: Doing well often begins with listening well, and that’s a skill we can all work on, regardless of our age.
[from When It Comes to Helping Others: Just Do It by Rye Barcott; Retrieved May 18, 2011 from http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/18/when-it-comes-to-helping-others-just-do-it/]

In my classes this week, we have been discussing how to listen well. Here are a few suggestions from my lecture:

  1. Active listening – paraphrasing what the speaker says (to his/her satisfaction) before you may take your turn speaking. Most of us butt in when what we’re hearing doesn’t confirm our pre-existing perceptions. That gives the speaker a very clear message that we’re more interested in winning the argument than in learning something or in maintaining a relationship. Here’s an example:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im8WhG-8FGw
  1. Asks sincere questions, ones that are not confusing or distracting (Counterfeit questions make statements; carry hidden agendas)
  1. Suspend Judgment – “if you are sure of your beliefs, you will not fear listening to other views.”
  1. Resist distractions by (a) thinking a little ahead/anticipate what is coming or (b) reviewing what was already said or (c) listening between the lines; filling in the gaps in the information provided

Tomorrow I will share the kind of listening that keeps people separated, keeps institutions stagnant, and keeps everyone engaged in it from fulfilling their potential.

Comments on: "“The first duty of love is to listen.” Paul Tillich" (2)

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more! If one doesn’t really listen how does one learn anything. Not listening dooms one to the small world of self.

    Like

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