1997 my grandmother passed away, I was winding up her house, I came across a file, where all the letters that my brother and I had written to her were filled, she had marked appreciating comments she had notes things that she had to discuss with my mother from her observation of the letter, they were so astute it was amazing.
Her diary with dates and conversation again along the margin she had observations noted, and more interestingly a note that said “follow up task “it would something like bring to Sheila’s notice, whatever.
Never once did I perceive that she was vigilant she was my best friend so I rattled things to her, including great crush!
That was the power of listening.
When I realized this I started incorporating it in my practise, I found patients by passing five clinics to come to me, simply because I lent them a hearing ear.
They are not looking for a trouble-shooter they just want to diffuse their burden so that they are free to think objectively.
How exactly does one convince the talker that he/she is being listened to?
- Keep your mouth shut don’t interrupt unless it is pertinent.
- Listen in the present. Avoid bringing up parallel incidents
- Maintain eye contact.
- Mirror the other person’s body gestures.
- Avoid telephones and other external distractions.
- Hear the silence and the unsaid.
- All talk should translate to action
This way the person talking to you will not have to take the trouble Robert McCloskey took to say “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realized that what you heard is not what I meant.”