“Quiet your mind when listening.”
Communication and interaction are two of humanity’s greatest strengths. They allow us to convey ideas, knowledge, emotions, and experiences to one another, and pool our resources together. They allow us to teach our fellow human, pass on what we have learned, and learn much more than we would have otherwise on our own.
But listening isn’t just an exercise in ‘not talking’. Listening requires your attention to be focused on the speaker. Which comes to the lesson of the day: quiet your mind when listening. Our minds can be a busy place at any given time during the day. But this is perhaps most detrimental during the listening stage of communication. If our minds wander, if we are distracted, not only may we miss some critical element in what was being conveyed, we may inadvertently discourage the party from speaking because they sense our lack of interest.
Quieting your mind will allow you to process what a person says as well, rather than processing how to reply next. Listen to what they are saying, using the appropriate cues (nodding, saying “aha” or “I see”) to indicate that you have heard them. Do not assume that you have correctly understood something if you are unsure. Be sure to ask the speaker to clarify, perhaps even expand on what it is that they were saying.
When it comes to friends venting to us, learning to listen, rather than responding, is critical. In many instances, a friend will simply want to speak their mind, and want you to guide them along by showing interest. They may not be seeking advice at the time, preferring instead to externalize what they are thinking before they can even understand it.
Pay attention to how you listen during your average day. What are some of the things that distract you? How can you minimize these distractions? What skills can you adopt to ensure that you become a better listener? Answering these questions can help you quiet your mind, to become even better at communication overall.
Additional Food For Thought