Active listening

One of the many courses I have had in my career to date is “techniques for interviewing people”. One lesson taught was called “active listening.” We would simply let the person speak until finished and then, to show that we were, in fact, listening, we would rephrase or repeat in short order what we heard. The response from us would be “what I hear you saying is...” or “what you’re telling me is...” We would get confirmation.

  • Feb. 8, 2011 2:00 p.m.

One of the many courses I have had in my career to date is “techniques for interviewing people”. One lesson taught was called “active listening.” We would simply let the person speak until finished and then, to show that we were, in fact, listening, we would rephrase or repeat in short order what we heard. The response from us would be “what I hear you saying is…” or “what you’re telling me is…” We would get confirmation.

The danger of being taught new techniques at work is that the instructors did not warn us not to try this at home with our spouse. I learned the hard way. Pretty much the only way I learn. I was watching TV and reading an article at the same time. Multi-tasking, when Bev starts to quiz me on something. I told her to stop. Perfect opportunity to practise what I have learned.

I turned the TV down, I put my article down, turned to her, made good eye-contact and advised her “OK, I am now actively listening, go ahead.”

Well, the look I got and the response, no doubt not the topic she originally wished to discuss with me, caused me to rephrase her thoughts communicated to me as taught. “So, what I hear you saying is you don’t think that I am intellectually on par with Einstein or his peers given that you used the word idiot three times in one sentence. Would this be correct?”

I believe her response to my practising this technique on her was, “You’re an excellent learner.”

I don’t actively listen at home anymore. Now I just listen and do what I’m told. Now. The look that wives give us is a topic onto itself. For a later attachment. Is it DNA and you just do it without knowing you do it? Is it passed on from generation to generation? Instinct? Do you practise in front of a mirror? Presently researching this and when I find out, I will let you guys know. No doubt when she reads this, I will get the “look.”

Marko

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