Intense back-and-forth on social media. We have broken hearts. We really want to have our voice heard. We feel as though we are not being heard.
This weekend I attended a skill building session on listening. I am going to reveal some highlights from the session with you. My hope is that we will become better listeners.
The session opened with the playing of this video; it begins to explain the issues we tend to have while listening.
When listening we often see problems that we feel are glaring—but in reality the speaker is not looking for the answer—they just want to be heard. There are situations when we can be the answer person—when we are asked specifically for our opinion, prompted to vote or answer a question. But listening is different because we must exhibit empathy. We require listening that undoes shame and condemnation. We require shame free relationships.
Empathy depends on accuracy. Understand how the other person feels, why they feel, what they are saying. We use empathy when the other person is seeking understanding, involvement, friendship, emotional support or anger release.
Our speaker Karen Woods, who we affectionately call Mama K, led this skill building session. She stressed to our group that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.1 She also illustrated that simple people will only learn the hard way, but wise people learn by listening.2
Use this information when you are in conversation, may it be on social media, on the street, in the office, classroom, home, dorm—wherever it is.
Respect must be given to everyone. We do not have to agree on everything, but we should always respect the person speaking.
1. James 1:19
2. Proverbs 21:11
The title of the session is Listening for Heaven’s Sake by Equipping Ministries International. This session took place with members of my church All Nations Christian Fellowship.