I think sometimes we forget that listening is an active part of communication and when we do it well, it can help pave the way to understanding people better. It’s not always the words, but sometimes the way things are said that are telling us something more than we can hear. For example:
-Tone and volume many times will direct our response from urgency or calm.
-Yelling or screaming will get our attention and may stir up a response of fear or anger.
-A whisper can indicate frailty, illness or secrecy causing us to lean in and listen.
-Singing may be the release of a heart expressing comfort- joy-worship-or other emotion that could remind us of an event in our life.
-Body language, yes you can listen to body language! Think sign language and the way forcefulness or gentleness of action to signing words brings emphasis or expresses an emotion.
-Pitches or tonal inflections that we hear in someone’s voice effect our response to a question, a statement, or an exclamation.
-Silence or pauses cause us to be patient, allowing the other person a moment to put their thoughts into words for greater clarity.
-Languages and dialects help us to recognize where someone may be from and ope up a conversation that will cause us to listen carefully to understand them.
-I have even found that many occupations have their own language and that is unrecognizable to someone who may hear but cannot fully understand (Electricians, plumbers, sound engineers, medical personnel, and so many more).
The way that something is communicated can direct the way that we listen! Beyond that, there are words - Words - and more WORDS!!!! Even with all of this to help us understand, we still sometimes misunderstand others or we ourselves can be misunderstood.
How does this happen and what can we do about it?
I think we have to go back and read through The Listening Heart blogs before this one and see for ourselves where we have failed to listen and then consider the effects in our relationships.
TAKE A CHANCE!
The good news is that on the other side of listening, is speaking! You can go back to those whom you have misunderstood, or who have misunderstood you and ask questions to start a conversation that involves...LISTENING! And there you will get another chance or, you get to give another chance for clarity and a closer relationship!
Communication takes an investment of time, work and humility, but there is a great return on your investment ~ HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS!
Let me know what you are learning!