Building Block #2 – LISTENING
I touched briefly on the importance of LISTENING in my last blog on Building Block #1 – Connection. I want to elaborate on it here.
When I talk about listening, I mean REALLY listening. Often when we listen, we hear one thing the person says and then we plan our response. It is a more of a debate than a genuine conversation and neither person feels heard nor understood.
In fact, often we don’t even listen at all. We know what the topic of the conversation is and focus on what we want to say rather than hear what the other person is saying. We want to convince the other side of our position and get her to agree.
The problem with this approach is that when we are more focused on talking than on listening, no one is heard. When we feel heard, we are more likely to hear the other person.
Here are 3 things you can do to improve your listening so that you are heard!
Try to quiet your mind and focus your attention on what the other person is saying. Maintain eye contact and keep your heart and mind open and receptive. To help you do this, breathe deeply.
Reflect what you hear the other person say – both the emotional tone and the facts they are relaying. You want the other person to have a sense of being “gotten” or understood. Check with the other person to make sure you are hearing him correctly.
For example, “It sounds like you are angry because our son has missed school 3 times this week. Am I hearing you correctly?”
Try to reframe any judgments or criticisms into what is so important to this person that he is judging, criticizing or blaming you.
For example, “Are you worried about our son’s health and academics?”
Give these a try and PLEASE let me know how it goes.
In Service ~
Cat J. Zavis is an Attorney, Mediator and Coach for Parents co-parenting their children after divorce. As a divorced mother of 2, she deeply understands the challenges, trauma and opportunities divorce provides. She has been practicing Nonviolent CommunicationSM, Mediation and Collaborative Law for 7 years. She conducts workshops and trainings in Nonviolent CommunicationSM for parents, lawyers, teachers, students, spiritual centers and professionals. In 2009, she was awarded a Peace Builder Award for her business. Her combination of personal experience and professional expertise give Cat a unique perspective and ability to help co parents learn to communicate effectively and powerfully to transform their relationships and interactions with their former after divorce so they and their children can thrive.