Ask yourself the following question:
Do you listen before you speak, or do you react?
Our words are powerful; they can be encouraging or damaging. Once you have spoken, it is difficult to retract. Stop and think about what you are saying; ask yourself, “Is my message coming from of place of love and kindness?”
We have all been in situations where anger takes over, and we speak without thinking of the long-term impact of our words. Although these actions may seem justified in the moment, take a moment to reflect on how these incidents have served you in the past.
Personally, those moments have not helped me at all, and the primary culprit has been my lack of active listening. In one particular instance, an argument resulted in a permanently damaged relationship. All parties were angered, tempers were high, and the choice of words were harsh. During the conflict, it felt good just to blurt out what I was thinking, but my relationship with that person was injured, and no apology was going to take back what I had said. I did not stop and THINK; are my words truthful and honest? Will they be inspiring? Are they necessary and kind? Well, in the moment I may have felt my words were truthful honest, inspiring and even necessary, but they were not kind. And they surely didn’t trigger the type of reaction or response I wanted. What have you experienced in the heat of the moment with your conversations? Were you listening and did you think before talking?
But why is active listening difficult?
The University of Colorado’s Education department describes active listening as a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding. Often when people talk to each other, they don’t listen attentively. They are often distracted, half-listening, and half-thinking about something else.
Listening skills are an essential part of effective communication, and it is a skill that can be developed. When we practice active listening and think before speaking we are able to have better conversations with each other. I am practicing this daily, and by no means am I an expert, but it does work.
If you feel like you are speaking before listening and would like to work on developing or enhancing your active listening skills contact me at www.i2ecoaching.com for a coaching session to explore your active listening skills.
All the best,