A Thought on 'Listening In Stressful Times'
December 15, 2004

A silent curse that accompanies our holidays is that we allow stress to block us from listening to those closest to us. We get caught up in increased obligations and too easily neglect this simple, respectful and vital courtesy. We even forget to listen to ourselves.

How apparent is it when you are not listening, even over the phone! Trust me-pretty apparent. While the effect on others may not be expressed verbally it is dramatic.

Think of someone who typically shows little interest when are speaking to them. What is your opinion of this person? Is it someone with whom you would like to spend time? Would you trust this person with your business?

As if the additional time crunch is not enough, other aspects of the holidays interfere with our ability to listen. Physically, unless we are careful, we consume more sugar, sleep less and are exposed to minor illnesses. Mentally and emotionally we are on overload.

In The Zen of Listening, Rebecca Z. Shafir provides a few techniques to heighten your listening skills through stressful times at any time of the year:

  • Relax into it by controlling your breathing. Without practice in breath control, your mental focus breaks down and you become more physically tense.

  • Recognize your barriers and work through them one by one. For example are you still upset with something this person said at a meeting or holiday party? Let it go, be here now in the present. See if there is something new to learn.

  • Be able to put aside your agenda and get into the 'movie' of the other in order to understand where he/she is coming from. Get over yourself long enough to see what this person is communicating to you. Perhaps there is unsuspected value.

    Some other techniques I'd love to see you consider are:

  • Ask questions.
  • Perhaps the person is belaboring a point that no longer interests you. They may be talking nervously and would welcome a change in topic.
  • Move your body.
  • If on the phone, stand up. If your computer is tempting you, turn away.
  • Reflect their body language
  • to put them at ease.
  • Be honest.
  • If you don't have time now, set an appointment for later. If you are distracted by a visual or sound in the room, state that and alter the situation.
  • Center yourself.
  • Place both feet squarely on the ground. Drink water. Breath.
  • Eye contact.
  • It is hard not to listen to a person when you are looking directly into their beautiful, strong, sensitive or loving eyes. On the phone use your intuitive devices.

    Listening is important in any relationship. It is also a fun way to expand who you are and what you know. Who doesn't want to have more fun during stressful times? This week, see how listening, truly being present and listening broadens your experiences. Don't forget to listen to the rare and beautiful silence as well.

    Enjoy your discoveries!


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    Permission is granted to either reproduce copy or distribute "A Thought for the Week of December 15, 2004" so long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author is attached. The author is Ann Golden Eglé, Golden Visions Success Coaching, LLC, 541.385.8887, 1972 NE 3rd St, Suite # 307 Bend, Oregon 97701, www.GVSUCCESS.com

    Ann Golden Eglé, CPCC, PCC
    Golden Visions Success Coaching, LLC

    phone: 1.877.821.0234 or 541.385.8887
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