Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Here's what I hear you saying...

Communication Posted by Hello

"An open ear is the only believable sign of an open heart."
--David Augsburger

A friend and I were discussing the other day about the art of listening. I cited a former colleague of mine - Chuck Lane, one of the original four who made up the founding core team of Promise Keepers. Whenever I needed to talk to Chuck, he would turn around, give me his full attention and listen to what I had to share at that time. And it could be anything - relationships, ministry oppurtunities, my regional staff team members... what consistently got my attention was, "Kerry, here's what I hear you saying..." Chuck wanted to make sure he heard me fully, before he would respond with his answer!

And being one of the core leaders (Bill McCartney, Dave Wardell, Dan Schaffer) the culture of listening and frequent use of the phrase "Help Me Understand" was ingrained deep in our team culture at Promise Keepers. During 1995 when I joined the staff of Promise Keepers, there was quite a diversity of people, and ethnicity; Asian, African American, Hispanic, Native American, Jewish, deaf and in a men's ministry, women were serving in key leadership positions as well. If we didn't understand each other, then it would be difficult to convey a message of unity to the constituents of men we were reaching at stadium events!

Good listening is like tuning in a radio station. For good results, you can listen to only one station at a time. Trying to listen to my wife while looking over an office report is like trying to receive two radio stations at the same time. I end up with distortion and frustration. Listening requires a choice of where I place my attention. To tune into my partner, I must first choose to put away all that will divide my attention. That might mean laying down the newspaper, moving away from the dishes in the sink, putting down the book I’m reading, setting aside my projects.
SOURCE: Robert W. Herron, Homemade, June 1987

A dozen wisdom nuggets on listening:

"Many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request."
— Phillip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield

"Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage."
—Publilius Syrus , First Century BC, Maxim 914

"Effective questioning brings insight, which fuels curiosity, which cultivates wisdom."
— Chip Bell

"We should never pretend to know what we don't know, we should not feel ashamed to ask and learn from people below, and we should listen carefully to the views of the cadres at the lowest levels. Be a pupil before you become a teacher; learn from the cadres at the lower levels before you issue orders." — Mao Tse-tung

"The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them."
— Ralph Nichols

"Effective listeners remember that "words have no meaning - people have meaning." The assignment of meaning to a term is an internal process; meaning comes from inside us. And although our experiences, knowledge and attitudes differ, we often misinterpret each other’s messages while under the illusion that a common understanding has been achieved."
— Larry Barker

"Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen."
— Ambrose Bierce

"It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn't want to hear."
— Dick Cavett

"One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world."
— Dr. E. H. Mayo

"There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation."
— James Nathan Miller

"Man's inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively."
— Carl Rogers

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