Preparation for Listening

Men don't listen! I'm sure you've heard it before. To some degree, I'm sure you agree with it. "I listen when it's important." Men tune their ability to focus in on whatever key pieces of information are needed to move their task forward, and discard all the rest. This is one of the key differences between masculine and feminine. Men say what's needed, and listen for what's needed. Women share. They share their feelings, their experiences, the challenges they face, their hopes, dreams and anything else which they'd want you to know. Holy crap can they share! Sharing is essential to their feminine experience, and an open and expressive woman is a strong woman. What you need to know is that any interruption or deflection by you of their sharing will likely have them feel less secure with you and less trusting of you. That's when you and your relationship are in trouble. For a man in, or wanting to be in, a relationship, encouraging sharing through listening is critical.Listener

For a man, being a good, or great, listener is an essential skill needed to survive in a relationship. And, let's face it, it's a pretty damn useful skill in life, business, sales, etc. Developing your skill in being a good listener makes you a better husband and better man.

When you look at the question, "Am I a good listener?", how do you know how to answer? It would be very easy to say yes, or very easy to say no, based simply on other people's opinion of you. "Well, my wife says I don't really listen well". Or, "I listen better then most men I talk to". But, how do you really know?

The first problem is, how do you know what you didn't hear? You could wait for the times for someone to say "but, I said that", but that rarely works. Then there's, how can you ever compare against another's listening prowess? You can't. Ultimately, there is no real measure of a good or bad listener. The answer, simply, is keep developing your ability, and it will continue to serve you.

First, the basics. If you're not doing these things, start.

  • Turn off the distractions such as TV, cell phone, etc.
  • Make eye contact. Stay with her in the conversation, but keep your expression soft and empathetic
  • Pause after she finishes. Don't rush your next response.
  • Don't finish her sentences. She wants to share them, even if you could guess.
  • Feed what she said back to her without judgement
  • Keep anything she says confidential, even if you didn't say you would

Ok, if you can handle the basics, you're ready to take the next level up in mastery.

  • Listen for the gems in what she is saying, and how it can be a contribution to you. When in a relationship, people want to contribute to one another. You boost her confidence in the relationship when she knows she makes a difference with you. Listening for gems will also have you paying closer attention to all the details and fully understanding them, because that's where the gems are found.
  • Remove the distractions from your mind before listening. Ok, remember, this is the advanced stuff. That may be writing a list of the things you need to handle at work before walking in the door, so you're not thinking about it when she wants to talk to you. It may mean, putting stuff into your calendar so you don't have to carry it around in your head. It may mean making a quick call to let go of an argument or opinion you have of another, so you can stop thinking about it. Making preparation for listening a priority will make you better at it.
  • Remove your buttons. The quickest way to not listen is to have an argument. An argument requires two people not being their best. She can argue at you, and call you names, and yell and scream, but until you lose your cool, it's not an argument. If fact, if you don't lose your cool in those situations, that's damn good listening. Ok, back to the buttons. Losing your cool is basically, her pushing one of your buttons, then you running off on autopilot. Sure, she pushed your button, and maybe she's a bitch for doing so, BUT, you're the one with the buttons. Now, really, I don't think most women push our buttons to be bitches. I think they're just trying to find out who we really are, and the limits to their safety with us. So, keep working with your men so you don't have those buttons. She can't push buttons that aren't there!
  • Acknowledge and appreciate her sharing. It takes courage to share your feelings, your experiences, your hopes and dreams. Try it, you probably won't like it, even if you could do it. Her knowing that your listening isn't just a chore will go a long way in her feeling safe to share with you, will boost her confidence, and will build the bond.
  • Practice, practice, practice...

Your job in the relationship is to be a great man, and part of being a great man is being a great listener. The more you are willing to go that extra mile and develop your ability, the more both you and your partner will benefit from that listening.

Over time develop each of these skills, and create disciplines to keep the development alive. You'll see results in your relationship, your friendships, your business or career and any aspect of your life which involves other people. Listening is that important.

Gary Menezes, 2017-04-19 | Posted in General