05/16/2010 by adminHave you ever watched Star Trek? If you have, you are familiar with the "transporter". You know the process; people step onto a pad, they are turned into molecules, then are shot through space to a specific location where POOF, they magically reconfigure into the EXACT form they were before the person stepped onto the pad. Same person, new location!
I believe this is the way we think communication works. Our thoughts turn into words, which exit our mouths and enter the listener,s ear. Then they are magically reconfigured into the EXACT form they were in before leaving our mouth.
But it doesn't happen that way. Communication is a delicate thing. It is my experience that the message we deliver NEVER arrives the way it was sent. Our hearing is tuned by a lifetime of experiences. We hear with ears that grew up with the parents we had, the school we attended and the temperament that we arrived with. Then, of course, there are the joys and traumas of our lives that further tune our hearing and the mood we are in when we listen. Add to that the physical interruptions such as driving while listening, other people talking , background noise, or our own attempts at "multitasking. So many things are going on while we are listening.
Or are we listening? The truth is that we are listening, but primarily to ourselves. Think about it. When someone says something that you are uncomfortable with, what is going on in your mind? Are you carefully listening to the other person, or are you formulating a rebuttal? Are you considering the speakers words, or are you listing the ways that they are wrong and mounting a defense?
Is it any wonder that there is so much miscommunication? Imagine what your relationships would be like if people really took the time to hear you. I believe the first step in being heard is to learn to listen.
So take a moment to pay attention to what you are hearing. Notice if you are attending to the words of the speaker, or your own words. Take the risk of asking for clarification, and noticing how you are interpreting the speakers words. Really listening to someone is both simple, and challenging, so challenge yourself to truly hear what is being said it!