The middle ground in any disagreement is only found through listening. Listen for a request behind every complaint and the hurt behind every unkind act. Even when hostile language is used, listening—beyond those words and beyond assumptions—is the language of peace.
In personal relationships - What means more than being listened to? We all want to be validated, cared for, heard. Conflicts come and linger when we’re not listening to each other. Feelings of isolation and loneliness come from being with someone who doesn’t ask, listen, or try to comprehend us. Do we feel respected, cared for, loved - listened to?
In business - Listening is essential not only for success, customer satisfaction, teamwork, motivation, and avoiding misunderstanding—it also makes the difference between a comfortable workplace and an atmosphere we dread walking into. Do we feel respected, taken seriously, valued - listened to? And no negotiation can be successful without highly refined listening skills.
In schools - Violence often begins with feelings of isolation. Listening can change a child’s motivation, attention span, and attendance. Most essentially, it can also change a child’s feelings about him or her self and the world. Do they feel like they matter, like anything matters or is worth an effort - do they feel like anyone is listening? A few good listeners can make all the difference.
In our communities - Children lash out, turn inwards, disappear and then we ask around— Does anyone know why? Who was watching? Was anybody listening? Caring, paying attention, listening—can save a life.
In Listening News
Throughout this section, you'll find thoughts on listening in healthcare, families, education, business, the arts, and on the importance of inner listening. Each of these, of course, only touches the surface. These listening topics and more are also explored on the "Have You Heard?" blog and related stories are posted on the "In Listening News" page.
I've chosen a small selection of interesting articles for each page. But if you're interested in any of these topics, be sure to check out the blog and newsfeed, too!
From the newsfeed: "The Science and Art of Listening" (NYT Sunday Review)