Val Baldwin, CPC
Live Your Ultimate Life

How many times have you been talking away, wrapped up in a conversation, sharing something important, meaningful or revealing about yourself only to see that the person you are talking with has drifted away and is obviously somewhere else?  And, if you tell the truth, haven't you done the very same thing yourself?  What does it take for us to really hear what someone else is saying to us about themselves?

Genuine connections begin with deep listening.  And satisfying communication requires us to be fully tuned-in and ready to hear what is being said to us.  For most of us, deep listening does not come naturally.  In fact, life experience often trains our natural deep listening abilities right out of us.

There are many ways that our ability to hear someone else becomes blocked.  Once we know about these blocks we have a much better chance of getting rid of them and learning more satisfying habits.  Here are three common communication blocks and how to overcome them. 

Communication Blocks and Solutions:

1. Block:  We listen for what needs fixing, changing or figuring out.  Many of us learned very early in life to look and listen for problems.  We are quick to notice what is not working and what is wrong.  We are busy analyzing and sorting out what isn't right.  Going into "fixing mode" right off the bat distorts our listening abilities and we stop truly listening.

Solution:  See others as whole and complete right from the start.  Know that everyone has a source of internal intelligence that they can get to for their own answers and guidance.  When a person begins talking about an issue they are obviously troubled about, immediately ask them "Would you like me to help you solve this problem or would you like me to simply listen?"  If they say "just listen", then your mind can relax and you can tune in completely to what they have to say.
2. Block: We listen for opportunities to share our own wisdom, knowledge and competence.  We are busy listening to the running commentary inside our own head while someone else is talking to us.

Solution:  Give up trying to impress others with your brilliance and be fully focused on them instead.  The fact that you know things and have gifts and talents is without question.  Everybody does.  If you want to create genuine connections with others, forget about yourself and get curious about them instead.

3. Block: We assume that we know what words and sentences are coming next.  Often we have moved on long before our partners' sharing is complete.  We have lost our curiosity about our partner's story and stop listening. We think we’ve heard everything they have to say a million times before.

Solution:  Be curious and approach each conversation - whether with someone you have just met or someone you've been married to for 30 years, with fresh eyes and wonder.  We change and so do our friends, children and partners.  When you think you already know everything there is to know about another person, the adventure of intimacy begins to fade.

You can do this by getting in close proximity of the person, have eye to eye contact and ask questions that show your interest vs looking away, continuing to do something else, not responding with any signs that you’re engaged in the conversation like “uh huh” or “tell me more”, etc.

Do any of these listening blocks sound like you?  The first step to positive change is first acknowledging your own behavior.  Practice these listening solutions over and over and they WILL become part of you.  Does it take practice, patience and effort?  Absolutely!  But I promise you, the loving feelings that will grow between you and those you care about will be priceless!

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