“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ~ Stephen R. Covey
Have you ever been in a conversation and you knew that the other person wasn’t listening to you?
Because their eyes glazed over, or their response had nothing to do with what you were saying, or they were fidgeting…or any other number of obvious indicators?
How did that make you feel?
Have you ever been the person whose eyes glazed over? Who stopped paying attention to the person in front of you? Who started fidgeting and thinking about something else—like what you want to do later that day, or about some horrible thing that so-and-so said to you, or about all of the things on your seemingly endless list of to-do’s?
It’s likely we’ve all been on both sides of this type of conversation.
I know I have been. And neither feels satisfying.
This TED Talk by Celeste Headlee is brilliant. It’s simple, direct, and powerful.
And it goes beyond the superficial, “nod your head and smile” and “repeat back what you’ve heard” advice.
Here’s my favorite part:
“Number 6: Don’t equate your experience with theirs.
If they’re talking about having lost a family member, don’t start talking about the time that you lost a family member. If they’re talking about the trouble that they’re having at work, don’t tell them about how much you hate your job. It’s not the same. It is never the same. All experiences are individual. And more importantly, it is not about you.”