Most of what we call listening is really “waiting to speak.” Here is how people “hear” us:
You say something, sounds are heard by another and a lifetime of experince, joy and pain jumbled together go into processing those sounds, and each individual interprets what he or she hears uniquely. Face it, rarely, if ever, have others really heard you. They have heard themselves.
Active listening is a confirmation process where the listener feeds back to the speaker what he or she thought was heard, by restating or paraphrasing in their own words what they believe they have heard. Active listening requires full engagement, stilling the mind, suspending judgment, and at least temporarily releasing one’s own frame of reference and adopting the speaker’s.
“The biggest problem with communication is the illusion it just occurred.” — George Bernard Shaw; 1856–1950, Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics
“The meaning of any message you send can be found in the response you receive.” — NLP proverb
“It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear.” — Dick Cavett;1936–, former American late-night talk show host, known for his controversial style