Saturday, September 20, 2008

Listen I: Empowering Hearing & Understanding

Listen, it's good for you.

Our era is named the Information Age. Words, music, and noise come at us continually. Media stars are correctly termed "Talking Heads." I'm convinced we've developed "tune out" skills to shut out so much noise in our lives. Unfortunately that has contributed to the poor listening skills many of us use in relating to others.

Today begins a series on listening. As a big talker I find intentionally developing my listening skills to be one of the best things I do to improve all my relationships. I rarely find good listeners in ministry, business or among my family and friends. The few I know are on my short list of folks I love having around.

To thrive as a Christian for me is in direct proportion to my listening to God, (and obeying Him). When my heart is tender and compassionate to "hear" others in my life, I find my relationships thrive. I value my viewpoint, but not above everyone else's. My hope is that you will find a nugget or two that improves your listening skills through this series.

A few years ago I had a severe ear infection. I soon tired of asking family and friends to repeat themselves. One day my husband and I were a few miles out of town at a small country store/gas station. He asked me "Would you like some deodorant? I hear it's good here." He was picky on his toiletries and I shook my head "No." I sat there in the car wondering how nutty could he be; coming this far out of town just to buy deodorant. Then he got in the car licking a soft yogurt. That was the beginning of my quandary to learn to "hear" and listen with the intention of knowing what the speaker said and meant.

Following comes from Scott Ginsberg's website:

Think about the people who have had the most influence in your life - did they listen to you?

How did they make you feel important?

You, too, can be one of those special people, just by improving your listening skills. Great leaders are usually great listeners, and I remember one in my life who often told me that I have two ears and one mouth for a reason. You can be a better communicator and leader, as well as let others know that you value them, by learning to listen more effectively. Start listening today!

The first irony:Effective listeners are always in demand.Listeners are always popular wherever they go.And yet, most people FAIL at listening.Interesting.

The second irony:Listening is THE most important business skill you could possess.Listening is the only thing you do more than breathing.And yet, 90% of schools and universities don’t offer courses on listening.That’s odd.

The third irony:Listening lowers blood pressure, which reduces stress.Being listened to increases your self-esteem, self-worth and purpose.Having a person who listens to you makes you feel more confident and boosts your immune system.And yet, listening is the #1 complaint by customers across most industries.Huh. Weird.

The fourth irony:Listening – if practiced DAILY and more diligently – can change the world.Listening – if practiced DAILY and more diligently – can attract more business, elicit greater loyalty and foster deeper solidarity.And yet, in the history of the world, nobody’s every said, "Gee, I wish you wouldn’t listen so much!"Wow.

So, two questions:1. Do you think your personal and professional life would benefit from improving your listening skills? (Good. That’s what I thought.)

2. What have you done – specifically, in the past 30 days – to improve your listening skills?


Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Yes I do believe we need to listen much more! Myself included!
Much love,

Nicole said...

Great post!

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.