Note from Elaine: Adoption issues, my theme for the past several years, has allowed me to focus beyond “recovery” and move toward ways of reaching a more fulfilling life. To listen more to others and less to the same tired song of myself. Guest blogger Pat Goehe, past contributor to The Goodbye Baby, knows a lot about the art of communication.
ARE YOU LISTENING?- PART ONE
To begin this posting, I must tell you that over the years I have taught semester courses in listening. Additionally, the numerous courses in Interpersonal Communication that we all teach in my field contain major units in listening. Why must I tell you this? Because it is extremely difficult for me to narrow the topic down to briefer comments. But I will try!
Whether it’s a class or a speech I usually give demonstrations (because I continue to be an actress!) of three commonly observed interactions where supposedly we are listening. First we have what the psychologist Tournier called “dialogue of the deaf”; others refer to it as “talking past each other.” What happens here are people who believe they are communicating with each other, but often a person will ask a question , then is immediately formulating another question before the recipient can complete responding to the first inquiry. Another example of this type of listening problem is where one person in the conversation is talking. The listener hears a “trigger word or phrase”. Example: Sue says “I made the greatest recipe last night. It was….” And before she can complete this statement, Mary says “Oh my gosh! I forgot to take out the frozen chops I’m planning to fix tonight”. While both Sue and Mary think they are listening to each other, they are engaged in the dialogue of the deaf.
Next we have the type of listening where one person, or maybe both, listens only to dispute/argue whatever has been said. That is debating, not listening!
Tomorrow: PART TWO of “Are You Listening”