We all want to be heard. We want to say something and have the person we’re saying it to actually hear the meaning/significance behind what we’re trying to communicate.

Yet listening to and hearing others gets tricky when someone says something we don’t really want to hear.

We stop hearing because we get defensive. And when we get defensive we get busy proving that we’re not wrong. It becomes about us, and not about what’s being communicated. What’s being communicated may be hurt, sadness, frustration or even anger. But all we hear is “you’re wrong.”

And then our mental gerbil (think about running on the perpetual wheel that goes nowhere) jumps in like zorro to defend our ego. Then the person who’s talking to you says, “you’re not listening to me!”

So next time you hear/feel yourself being defensive (self-awareness is always key):
•Stop for a moment
•Don’t take the communication “on” –meaning don’t take it as truth nor as meaning something about who you are as a person (sedate the gerbil)
•And ask yourself: What was actually said?
•Talk to yourself again: Does that seem reasonable? Does it seem possible?
•If so, then acknowledge to the other person that you can see how they might feel that way
•If not, ask them to tell you more, to help you understand where they’re coming from

At this point, you will actually be hearing the other person which will significantly move the communication forward.

You may also be interested in our latest Blog: Feel Good Philanthropy & Employee Pride: 7 Options

photo credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/77616793548170544/