Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The #1 Social Skill To Have.

Listening tops the scale.

Last night, we were sitting around the kitchen table and having a short conversation that seemed to last three hours. You know, anyone who hasn't got a big table in there, get one. Kitchens with big tables lead to a treasure trove of conversation and family time.

In fact, we sat for hours around the table, even though the lounge with its more leisurely seating arrangements was only a few meters away. Ah, if our table could talk...!

At one stage it was Polly, her friend Lesley, Bob and I. The topics were chasing each other and sometimes circling back. Now Polly was a Social Worker and Lesley was a Psychologist. Oh yes, they listened for a living.

When either Bob or I talked, they both listened. Not the normal sort of listening. You know, that listening when someone just waits for you to pause / swallow / take a breath, in order to add their five cents worth.( Guilty of that more often than I'd like to admit ). They both listened with avid and rapt attention to our stories until the very last word.

It was classic the way they both sat next to each other, heads inclined at the same angle and listening with rapt and avid attention to our stories. Even the often mundane ones. A picture I will never forget.

With everyone's hectic modern lifestyle, the art of listening seems to have been banished from conversations. The rarity of just being listened to was a breath of fresh air and I hope to cultivate this art of listening.

Listening is hard to do but has such a great impact...on the eh, listener.


Our kitchen table resting, waiting for more conversations etc... Lost Art of Listening, Second Edition: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships