Are you giving something extra special to your Valentine this year…expensive jewellery, flowers, or hand-made chocolates? While these “things” will be appreciated, nothing says “I love you!” more than your full and undivided attention.
When you’re fully engaged and connected while communicating with your partner, you are saying “I respect you,” “I value you,” and “What you’re saying is important!”
A clinical psychologist friend of mine who runs a successful relationship counselling practice states that most problems in relationships exist because people don’t listen. You may think it’s easy to listen but listening to understand, empathize and clarify takes skill and concentration. It’s the most underrated skill yet it’s a skill that, when used effectively, can have an incredibly positive impact.
I challenge you to rate your listening skills today! Use the RASA acronym developed by Julian Treasure, an authority on listening and sound, to measure your listening ability.
R - Receive: Seek to understand and focus, avoiding thought “side tracks”?
A - Appreciate: Empathize – put yourself in the other person’s shoes?
S - Summarize: State back, in your own words, what you’ve heard?
A - Ask questions…gently?
Listening is a skill that takes time and patience. Being a more effective listener is my major goal for 2017. Some days it’s one step forward and two back – changing deeply engrained habits takes time! I can whole-heartedly attest, though, that striving to improve my listening skills has already made a positive difference in my work and personal relationships and therefore my life - it's worth the effort!
Here's a great TED Talk that was given by Julian Treasure: 5 better ways to listen.