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When you hear the word communication – what do you think?

Unfortunately for most people when they hear the word “communication” they immediately think about speech. How they talk and how others talk to them.  The key to effective communication though comes in the form of listening and this is what I believe we should be teaching our children.

When our children learn to listen they will learn that often problems can be resolved so that everyone feels validated, heard and can walk away with a solution they are happy with. When they listen they will learn that sometimes what we think the other person is saying/feeling is actually not in fact the case. When they listen they will learn that sometimes the best way to make someone feel heard is not in offering a solution but just offering an ear.

The hard part to this though is that we as parents need to teach our children these practices and the best way to do this is to model this behaviour. If you are not used to listening in this manner it can be tough.

When I started out on this journey a few weeks ago it was really tough. Every time my daughter, my husband, family or friends wanted to talk to me I reminded myself that I needed to listen. I am so used to doing multiple things at once but when I wanted to change the way I listened to make sure that I was actually listening that meant I had to stop and focus my attention on what they were saying. I had to ask questions to learn what they wanted from me. Did they want a solution, did they want empathy did they simply just want to talk.

These last few weeks have been a huge learning curve for me. I have learnt that more times than not I am better off being quiet than offering an opinion. I am better off letting silence be heard so that my loved ones can come to their own solution than suggesting one myself. I have also learnt that this is one of the best tools that I can give my daughter.

In every aspect of our lives we need to communicate with people. The most powerful message though is received in listening to others.

Can you relate to this? Do you ‘listen’? Please share in the comments below.

  • great article

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  • Listening is a skill not everyone has. I also think it’s not a skill that everybody wants.
    Active listening I think most men need to be taught, haha.

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  • I know one Mum who is contantly on her I-phone using one of its many features, not listening or talking to her kids….and she wonders why her 8 y.o. daughter doesn’t bother to try to talk to her when she should. Instead she confides in her Grandma, one of her Aunties or somebody she feels will listen to her and give her advice if she asks for it. Her Dad listens to her more than her Mum does. Understandably, some things she wants to talk to her Mum about, not her Dad. I’m sure some of the naughty things she does are to get attention – trouble is she then gets negative attention and sometimes punishment – like special treats cancelled, things taken away from her. No TV.

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  • the problem is most days “communication” is visual, through smart phones and facebook. Which is killing the english language.

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  • Being less confident that others, I think I listen more than I talk – although with those close to me I probably chew their ear off lol!

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  • I do listen, but I have to admit I really love to talk. I think this comes from working from home where you’re often isolated from people. So when I catch up with friends, it’s an absolute talkfest. Also at home, my hubby will tell you, that I love to unload on him and talk when he gets home. He hates it. My husband is a great listener. He talks little, but what he says is impactful. I do think I’m a good listener, but I can learn to be a great listener.

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  • I have to admit that sometimes it is very difficult to really listen and fully process all the talk…I have a couple of friends that constantly talk and talk about themselves and what is going on in their life and I find it hard to get a word in.
    This article is great though and as us moms are multitasks we must remember to stop what we are doing for a moment and really give the person/family member the attention they deserve.
    Thanks Lorrie. :-)

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  • Im a Mum of 3 teen+ girls so listening is a big thing for me.
    They love to talk as long as they know they are being listened to and not judged or about to receive a lecture.

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  • A good listener is always a good friend is what my dad used to say. I had a rambunctious of 4 kids under 7 and we had round table discussions every evening at tea time. No TV – just me and the kids and it was their time to ask a question and get an answer. As they all usually wanted to hear an answer they were quiet while the question was asked – sometimes I would ask them what one or other of them thought about the subject, sometimes it would be up to me to give the answer they were seeking, especially if it was a sexual matter. Boys and girls, so they learnt equally about themselves – and they often came up with good answers themselves on their other questions. If no-one had a topic – we might have a spelling bee or maths quiz that night. Other times they would bring their friends to tea because there was a burning question they had and weren’t game to ask their mum – but the one thing all these kids did learn was how to listen and to evaluate and in so doing so did I.

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  • A great article. I agree, listening is an art form that seems to be dwindling these days.

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  • Soo awesome to hear your feedback on your experience with listening…..something i had thought about doing but hadn’t started (didn’t know where to really). I will use your approach and start there…thank you! All the best

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  • Giving my full attention is something I need to be really conscious of.

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  • Listening is so important and giving your full attention to someone is equally important. Stop what you are doing, put down the phone, laptop, whatever and look at the person and truly listen.

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  • I believe we are programmed to be audio and visual, now that I’m older I believe I listen more. I studied communication subject at university and other short courses. I believe this has enhanced my communication skills. I think most of us or we’ll me anyway need to slow down and listen.

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  • I understand completely. “People hearing without listening”. It’s indeed such an important skill. There are people that don’t want anything else from you than empathy or just hearing them out. While other people would like some help, a suggestion on the way to handle a problem. It’s super important to understand what people want and expect from us. Then there is real communication.
    Well done!! :-)

    Reply

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