One of the most difficult components to listening is perception or filters. This is the way You or I hear things based on our own individual ideas about the world. One might hear things one way and the other differently. We all come to the table with a unique set of ears painted by experience.
Two weeks ago I shared about listening being the strongest communication skill. If you missed it, click hear to read more.
My belief is that one of the most generous gifts you can give someone is your full attention and to put a cherry on top of that, consider listening without filters!
What do I mean by listening filters? We are all hard wired via our experiences in life to hear what we think someone said based on our previous experiences. The reality of it is that if we are not consciously aware of this, it is very difficult to even know we are acting this way. For instance, if you had a mother that always told you to pick up your room and you started to slowly resent her nagging instead of seeing it as useful criticism, chances are you will hear those same words from someone else as "your mother". You will inherently think of that person in the way you once did your mother. We are all programmed on a certain level based on our experiences.
We also filter based on what we want to add to discussion based on the desire to be relevant or included. We listen to "fix" so that we can be the hero; you tell me your problems, I tell you a solution... solicited or not :) We also listen to relate; you tell me a story and my response is basically your subject matter through my circumstances eyes.
I know what you are thinking, isn't this all just part of how people show up in the world? How we communicate?
Maybe, but maybe there is also a new paradigm of communication that involves listening without filters! Listening in a way that is totally engaged in what someone is saying without reacting in one of these filtered ways.
Certainly food for thought, next time you find yourself in conversation check in and ask yourself if you are filtering or listening authentically and filterless.
Lindsey Rainwater is an experienced consultant and coach to the fitness and wellness industry. She specializes in business development and leadership. Currently she is working with the Fitmarc Team helping Health Club owners all over the south central region of the united states propel their business forward via group exercise solutions. For more information about Lindsey, follow her @lindseyrainh2o