When you prepare to listen you will face a challenge. You can listen without expectation or judgment if you remember this person is not you. Listen to each word, go for the meaning and confirm your interpretation. No matter how long you have known the person or no matter how like-minded you are, they have come through a substantially different set of life experiences.
It can be challenging when you set your mind to listen. Whether you are friends, like-minded co-workers or kindred spirits, do not assume that the speaker shares your perspective. You each are very different with different life experiences, family history, cultural background and perceptions. If you keep this in mind you can listen without making assumptions or expectations about how the conversation will go. Without your assumptions you will hear better, making others feel safe to speak their mind.
Paying attention to what someone else is saying is a very good way to make them feel (heard) validated and accepted for their uniqueness. Usually when we are listening to someone speak we are in the mindset of making assessments and forming opinions about what they are saying. Or we are thinking, "please hurry up” so we can take our turn and speak the thoughts we are busy formulating. When you truly listen there is often a pause after the speaker finishes speaking. This pause allows you to process what you have just heard. Then, when you reflect back what you heard or ask a clarifying question, the person you are speaking with will really know you were listening. Now that’s communicating!
least censorious, least bossy people you know.
We should all know this: that listening, not talking,
is the gifted and great role, and the imaginative role.
And the true listener is much more beloved, magnetic
than the talker, and he is more effective and learns more and does more good".