FOOD FOR THOUGHT - THE HABIT OF COMMUNICATION - Welcome to My Woven Words

[Latest Post][777]

Motivational
Poem
Funny
ShortStory
Fact
Love
How To...
Health
AfricanFolktale
Birthday
Inferno
Recipe
Biography
History
Mythology
Campus Parrot
Relationship
Culture
Fashion
Suggested Post
The Preacher's Love

Search This Blog

FOOD FOR THOUGHT - THE HABIT OF COMMUNICATION


SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD:

Communication is the most important skill in life. We spend most of our waking hours communicating. But consider this: You've spent years learning how to read and write. Years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training or education have you had that enables you to listen so that you really, deeply understand another human being from that individual's own frame of reference?
 
Seek First to Understand, or Diagnose before You Prescribe, is a correct principle manifest in many areas of life. A wise doctor will diagnose before writing a prescription. A good engineer will understand the forces, the stresses at work, before designing the bridge. An effective salesperson first seeks to understand the needs of the customer before offering a product. Similarly, an effective communicator will first seek to understand another's views before seeking to be understood. Until people feel properly diagnosed they will not be open to prescriptions.
We typically seek first to be understood. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They're either speaking or preparing to speak. They're filtering everything through their own paradigms, reading their autobiography into other people's lives, listening within their own frame of reference.
"Oh, I know exactly how you feel."
"I went through the very same thing. Let me tell you about my experience."
They're constantly projecting their own home movies onto others' behavior. In contrast, Empathic Listening gets inside another person's frame of reference. You look out through it, you see the world the way he or she sees it, you understand how he or she feels. This does not mean that you agree necessarily, simply that you understand his or her point of view.
Empathic Listening is, in and of itself, a tremendous deposit into the Emotional Bank Account of another. Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be affirmed, to be appreciated, to be understood. When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air.
 
Empathic Listening is also risky. It takes a great deal of security to go into a deep listening experience because you open yourself up to be influenced. You become vulnerable. It's a paradox, in a sense, because in order to have influence, you have to first be influenced. You have to really understand.

Once we understand, we can proceed with the second step of the interaction: seeking to be understood. Because the other person's need to be understood has been satisfied, we are much more likely to have influence and to be understood ourselves. 


By Zaine Ridling, Ph.D.


Share This Post