I am a partisan for conversation. To make room for it, I see some first, deliberate steps. At home, we can create sacred spaces: the kitchen, the dining room. We can make our cars “device-free zones.” We can demonstrate the value of conversation to our children. And we can do the same thing at work. There we are so busy communicating that we often don’t have time to talk to one another about what really matters. Employees asked for casual Fridays; perhaps managers should introduce conversational Thursdays. Most of all, we need to remember — in between texts and e-mails and Facebook posts — to listen to one another, even to the boring bits, because it is often in unedited moments, moments in which we hesitate and stutter and go silent, that we reveal ourselves to one another.
Finally, knowing when to be silent can be a powerful communication tool. Silence allows the speaker to become aware of his or her own feelings, to explore more deeply and to proceed at his or her own pace. Because many listeners become self-conscious with silence, they feel the need to "break" it by talking or asking questions. Unfortunately, this usually disrupts and derails the speaker. How can silence be handled? Pay attention to the body posture of the speaker and "listen" to what it says to you. Try to imagine what the speaker might be feeling, consider various ways that you might respond, and then choose the most helpful response.
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Effective communication is essential when trying to establish and maintain relationships and it is a process that involves listening, questioning, responding and understanding.
Challenge 1: Deep Listening -- Empathy in Action
Many of us think that communication is talking - and talk we do. We interrupt, advise, reassure, judge, analyze, criticize, argue, moralize, threaten, divert, diagnose, etc., etc. But, good communication requires good listening as well as talking. In fact, since we have two ears and only one mouth, listening just might be the more important skill. However, we receive almost no training in good listening and usually do not realize that really "hearing" someone is not a passive activity.
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Active listening strategies such as analysing and displaying non-verbal body language, clarifying meaning and accuracy, expressing understanding for the speaker’s feelings through empathy and moments of silence contribute to effective communication.
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Sometimes, speaker exhibit ineffective style such as defensiveness, ambushing, pseudo-listening, stage hogging and selective listening in their communication tracks.
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This essay will discuss how active listening strategies such as analysing and displaying non-verbal body language, clarifying meaning and accuracy, expressing understanding for the speaker’s feelings through empathy and silence contribute to effective communication by encouraging the speaker to convey hi...