Your 100 Year Mission If You Choose To Accept It
The phone rings. The person calling tells you that you have been chosen to be the subject of an international research study on communication skills.
For the next week, a research team will observe and record your interactions with your boss, co-workers, your employees, your spouse, your children, your neighbors, and strangers. At the conclusion of the study “your” communication skills will become the global communication model or template taught to, and adopted by, all humans for the next one hundred years.
Which of the two following models of communication skills will they see—-the communication skills of an unconscious compulsive talker, or the communication skills of an enlightened and awakened listener?
Which would you like them to see? A) or B)?
A) The Communication Skills of An Unconscious Compulsive Talker
- A dualistic either/or thinker that assumes he or she is always right
- Interrupts the speaker or begins talking when the speaker pauses to take a breath
- Shows impatience and the desire to respond before the speaker has completed his or her comments
- Shifts the focus of the conversation from the speaker to themselves
- Assumes a pause on the part of the speaker is an invitation to immediately take over the conversation
- Has no ability to maintain eye contact when talking or listening
- Begins or participates in a side conversation when bored by the speaker in a group situation
- Does not ask questions to clarify
- Is unaware of the non-verbal body language of the speaker
- Is unaware of the needs of the speaker (appreciation, acceptance, etc.)
- Assumes silence is agreement
- Engages in dual-aloguing rather than dialoguing.
- Interrupts and then talks over the other person
- Continually looks around when the other person is talking
- Is obviously listening to other conversations while the speaker is talking
B) The Communication Skills Of An Enlightened, Awakened Listener
- Embraces a non-dual thinking process that searches for the truths on both sides of the subject the speaker is discussing
- Never interrupts the speaker and always allows five to ten seconds of silence before responding
- Shows no impatience or desire to respond until the speaker has stopped talking for five or more seconds
- Keeps the focus of the conversation on the speaker
- Maintains interest through steady eye contact while the speaker is talking (not staring)
- Never begins or enters a side conversation when someone is speaking in a group setting
- Asks questions to clarify what the speaker is talking about
- Is fully present and aware of the speakers non-verbal communication, including their psychological and emotional needs
- Does not express an opposing point of view until they have asked questions and listened carefully to the speaker’s position, thoughts, ideas, and point of view
- Never interrupts or talks over the speaker
- Understands that silent, active listening is an act of respect and does not mean or imply agreement
- Understands that effective communication happens when the listener is consciously present and offering the speaker his or her full attention in the present moment… not mentally drifting in and out of the past or the future
The Outcome Of The Study
It’s now a month later and the international research team is ready to publish its report and announce to the world the results of their study on “your” communication style.
Will we be using communication style (A) for the next century, or style (B)?
Hopefully we will be using communication style (B) because 98% of effective communication is the responsibility of the listener, not the speaker.
Because listening was considered to be an important sign of respect, the only person with permission to speak in a Native American council was the person holding the “talking stick”. When they were finished speaking they passed the talking stick and invited others to “respond”.
They brought their speaking to an end and became a listener.
They understood that expecting, or demanding, total agreement when we speak with an imperative voice makes those listening become invisible. It dis-respects the listeners and brings all conversation to an end.
It also means the speaker only gets to “see” and “hear” themselves.
Because we already know what “we” think “before” we speak, unless we are willing to invite our listeners to respond with “their” thoughts, it really doesn’t make much sense to have spoken at all. The obedience expected when an authoritarian, imperative voice is used is not dialogue, communication or conversation. Its sole purpose is control.
The talking stick insured that the imperative voice of obedience and absolute truth was not used in council meetings.
Summary: Listening Is The Heart of All Effective Communication; Not Speaking
In the movie the Avatar, I was moved by the way they greeted each other with the words “I see you”. But had I written the script to that movie I would have added the words “I hear you”.
Listening is the heart of all effective communication and like “I see you”; it makes the other person visible and real by honoring the presence of their spirit.
Seeing and listening to the spirit in others is the primary goal of a consciousness that is awakened and empty of ego. True listening means that our ego is not filtering the words we are hearing.
“Seeing”and“listening” both require presence and silence.
Deep, non-resistant, openhearted listening is love and compassion in action—-a powerful spiritual practice.