Copyright © 1996 by Lynn D. Johnson. All rights reserved.
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"Are you listening to me?"

People like to be heard. To be heard helps reduce insecurity. It gives us a feeling of peace. And when someone really listens to us, we often discover something about ourselves. Often we solve problems just when we are really listened to and feel heard. I n this handout I will explain two ways of listening and encourage you to try to listen better to those around you.

Let's compare the two.
MOOD: More tense, distracted, competitive, superior MOOD: Peaceful and curious, humble and tentative.
MIND: Busy with judgment and analysis;
"If you say this, it probably means you also think that." Feeling of preoccupation.
MIND: Thoughts are dropped rather than pursued. Any analysis is ignored and discarded. Feeling is inquisitive.
MEMORY: Effort made to not forget anything, so while that is going on, the listening is distracted. Fear that something might be forgotten. MEMORY: No effort is made to remember anything. There is a quiet assurance that the mind will provide whatever memories are needed without forcing it.
CONVERSATION: Frequent interruptions, challenges, confrontations. Sometimes both talking at the same time. "Making points" or competing for who can prove the other is mistaken. Rapid pace of speech. CONVERSATION: Mostly questions, interruptions only when the listener is confused and unclear. No confrontations or challenges. There is a slower pace, and the feeling is that there is no hurry.
RESPONSE TO BLAME: The analytic listener tries to show how the speaker is wrong; sounds defensive and closed. RESPONSE TO BLAME: Curiousity, puzzled. May say things like, "You could be right about that." Listener is willing to consider shared blame or responsibility.
INFORMATION: is guarded and not shared openly; responses are based on whether they will achieve a goal and data are "edited" before being shared. "Be careful you don't give away an advantage." INFORMATION: is shared openly and with trust and confidence. The listener tries to not have an agenda or a preferred way to solve the problem, so the more information on the table, the better.
PROBLEM SOLVING: Effort to force one person to accept the other's solution. Feels win-lose to both sides: "I must win or at least I must not lose. Feeling of superiority may be present, "If you would only see it my way, you would make sense." PROBLEM SOLVING: Flashes of insight and intuition; there is a win-win attitude and solutions that would harm either party are simply rejected or ignored. Often the problem is solved in a unique or unusual way as a result of this intuition-based approach to solving problems. There is often a sense of humor or pleasure when the solution appears.

This document may be freely copied and distributed provided that the copyright notice and author contact information are included, and as provided that no charge is made for copying or distribution.
Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D., 166 East 5900 South, #B-108, Murray, UT 84107 Phone: (801) 261-1412 e-mail: ljohnson@inconnect.com