Talking and Listening

A Deeper Look at Conversation in Relationship…

Over time, observing myself and others, I notice how much we all just open our mouths and talk without any thinking or filtering.  Most of us are reactive and on auto-pilot. Sometimes this careless conversation works okay but many times, it doesn’t, especially with your partner.  Here are some ideas that might not have occurred to you.  I hope they help.

 

 

 

Talking

Talk Plainly.

To be a good information “sender,” you must know why you are speaking.  This may sound silly, but if you listen carefully, you’ll hear yourself and others “going on” more than necessary.  If you aren’t sure about the point of your message, your partner won’t be, either.  If he’s overwhelmed by all your words, he won’t get the meaning you’re sending. Sheer volume is not only intimating; it’s exhausting.

Train yourself to be “present” to yourself.  Then, you’ll know why you’re speaking.  You can choose whether to talk or not.  Does this sound strange?  Well, have you ever caught yourself saying things you wish you hadn’t?  That’s probably because you aren’t listening to yourself or filtering your thoughts.  You aren’t present to you.  If you aren’t present with yourself, there’s no way you can monitor the words coming out of your mouth.  Don’t speak without thinking.

 

Be Sparse

Say what you mean, but don’t “go on.”  How many times have you started to talk about one topic and ended up talking about that and a few more?  If you’re typical, it happens more than you want it to. Stay focused and stick to your point.

 

Use Direct but Respectful Talk

Use language that’s direct.  People feel manipulated when you talk in an indirect way.  But, with your directness use a respectful tone and manner so that you won’t feel harsh to others. This kind of talk promotes trust and closeness quicker that any other kind.

 

Listening


Listen by Focusing.

You’re a good listener when you concentrate on understanding what your partner is saying. You must make your partner your only focus.

For example, when he speaks, don’t be busy evaluating his ideas or deciding what you will say next.  If you’re busy shaping responses, you aren’t listening.  If you aren’t listening, you can’t get his message.  If you don’t get his message, you cheat both of you.

If you don’t think you can give him your full attention, tell him so and set a time when you can.  Then, show up and do it.

 

Listen for Feelings

Strive to hear the feelings behind his words. They are often more important than the words themselves because feelings can drive behavior, too, like thoughts.  Don’t make assumptions about what he’s feeling.  Don’t judge what he’s feeling.  Don’t jump to conclusions. Instead, listen carefully, ask questions. Try to understand his feelings even if he can’t express them. Ask if what you think you heard is correct.

 

Listen for Meaning

Often, we hear the words someone is speaking and think we also understand the meaning.  But often, as speakers, we know we can’t always send our words clearly enough to carry our message.  So, as listeners, be sure you’re listening not only for words but meaning, as well.  Then, go further; ask if your thoughts are correct.

 

Your Payoff

This is certain.  Your time and effort to learn good talking and listening skills pays off.

  1. For you. After all, good communication is an undeniable asset, no matter where you use it. 
  2. For the other person. Everyone enjoys talking to others when it goes well.
  3. For your relationships. Whether they’re intimate, work or social ones; they benefit.

So, study your talking and listening habits by observing yourself. Try the suggestions above. Then practice. You know that talking with one another is a complex and, often, delicate process. But now with practice, you’ll do it well.

 

Warmest regards until next time,

Joan

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Thanks so much for reading.  And, if you think anyone you know would like this article, please forward it.

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