Listening is an integral element in any form of communication, and to communicate appropriately, individuals have to learn how to listen carefully. When having any form of dialogue with anyone, you should know how to be attentive and interpret what they are trying to tell you in the conversation (Brown et al., 2020). The Proverbs state as follows: “listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom for the future” (“Proverbs 18-31,” n.d.). Moreover, an individual should pay close attention to the types of feedback they receive from the communication. Some people generally respond without actually hearing what the other side is saying and sometimes hear what they choose to hear from the talk. Therefore, we owe it to ourselves and those around us to learn to listen better and respond accordingly and efficiently. Schultze and Badzinski (2015) discuss how important and crucial it is to engage in reliable communication in chapters five and six. It entails many different factors such as honesty, mutual obligation, and transparency as the main aspects of interpersonal communication.
In essence, excellent listening is about aggressively grasping the message being conveyed by the speaker, proving that one is interested, and giving the necessary responses to show that the message is well received. Communication involves selecting the correct words to convey the message to absorb the way the speaker wants. The flat-brain theory shows why people find it challenging to hear each other out why individuals end up in useless arguments that waste a lot of time. It also illustrates how good listening is central to healthy relationships in peoples’ lives. It may be very costly when people do not learn to listen as they might miss out on a very critical piece of information. In the same way, when people recognize that they are not listened to while delivering their speech, they feel offended and, as a result, pull away.
The listening approach offers innovative ways of routine communications and challenging connections. The Talker-Listener card helps in hearing one another out, and this technique will change the lives of many when taken seriously and used. From Petersen’s experience, it is evident that listening is a step-by-step task that takes time. Petersen is honest about his problems when it comes to listening. This is somehow assuring, and it helps ensure the readers that they too will learn how to hear from this. His explanation using the human body is the most exciting part as it draws the audience’s attention as is humorous in its way. It explains that dialogue is all about a take and gives a situation where one has to listen to be listened to. If people listen to others, they understand what they say, minimizing conflicts and misunderstandings.
It is not easy to listen to a conversation, mainly when the message is not exactly what they are expecting. For instance, a member can raise a point entirely out of topic in a discussion group. It may make someone else get tempted to cut him short and interrupt him. According to Peterson, it is not right to cut a speaker short of his speech (Petersen, 2015). Instead, individuals should give the speakers ample time and wait for their time to deliver their message or opinion.
Petersen provides a practical guide to those keen on developing their communication ability in many circumstances. He points out the communication problems many individuals face every day (Petersen, 2015). Petersen then explains what needs to be done to overcome these challenges and understand what causes a communication breakdown. His flat-brain model illustrates how disturbed and confused people get in stressful conditions, why they have a problem listening to others, and how they should go about it. He also introduces “come-alive communication,” a listening technique that helps people improve their relationships and aid in effective listening.
The first part is understanding the mutual obligations component, meaning that we need to understand that to have a meaningful relationship and conversation. “The combination of honesty and transparency is authenticity, which generates interpersonal communicators, especially family and friends, who know one another” (Schultze & Badzinski, 2015, Chapter 5. p. 8). People need to be faithful to one another understand what they owe one another for them to be loyal. Additionally, persons who are committed and open to the understanding and accommodation of the views of others are therefore the facilitators of the communication process. This way, talkers can improve the understanding spirit of others during the process of conversation.
As defined as being truthful, speakers and information senders must be genuine with the information they are issuing or receiving. Truthfulness pivots the trust between the receiver and the message’s sender, handing over what an individual has or more than just lying. Understanding conditions during dialogue begins with positive self-talk, which is running inside every person. As Schultze & Badzinski (2015) claim, “sometimes we lose confidence in ourselves, positive self-talk” provides a way to comprehend situations that entangle communicators (Schultze & Badzinski, 2015, Chapter 6. p. 12). I have come to know how powerful self-talk is in my personal life. I have developed an approach of ‘I can do it,’ a winning mindset. This state has dramatically helped me control my negative or positive thoughts and improve on them. When faced with challenging circumstances, I have learned to watch them from a distance and examine the tactics that I can adapt to unfold them.
My environment directly influences my thinking and determines my mood. Accordingly, to think positively, surrounding myself with positive thinkers is a convenient practice to avoid pessimistic moods. A situation that reflects negative thinking was the hospitalization of my child. The people around me were not ready to accept my experiences and behaved as if their professionalism did not allow them to interact with me openly. Their behavior was arrogant and reserved, which aggravated my morale. However, when my child and I found ourselves in a circle of loved ones, I felt support and care, which was expressed in encouragement and mutual understanding. This gave both of us a boost of spirit, which proves the importance of a positive environment and its impact on the way we think.
The book by Petersen has made me learn that it is vital always to listen first before we can talk and let the other persons share their views fully before I can also share mine. When we are not listening, our mind is usually not in the conversation. This is what Petersen referred to as “flat-brain,” a phenomenon where one’s emotions interfere with the process of listening. These situations may force people to become defensive, especially by an emotional speaker. The card is very beneficial; I have reflected on my communication techniques and improved by using them. It has also enabled me to express myself clearly to other people and ask questions where I have not gotten the content. From experience, this reduces miscommunication significantly and thus proves to be helpful in intimate relationships.
Brown, T., Yu, M. L., & Etherington, J. (2020). Are listening and interpersonal communication skills predictive of professionalism in undergraduate occupational therapy students? Health Professions Education, 6(2), 187 -200. Web.
Kriz, T. D., Kluger, A. N., & Lyddy, C. J. (2021). Feeling heard: Experiences of listening (or not) at work. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 1-18. Web.
Petersen, J. C. (2015). Why don’t we listen better? Communicating and connecting in relationships (2nd ed.). Petersen Publications.
Proverbs 18-31. (n.d.). New Revised Standard Version. Web.
Schultze, Q. J., & Badzinski, D. M. (2015). An essential guide to interpersonal communication: Building great relationships with faith, skill, and virtue in the age of social media. Baker Academic.