Essay Preview: Listening Case
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Often times in our busy lives, we get so caught up in other things that we fail to do even the most basic human tasks. For me, listening is one of the first things that get compromised when I find myself trying to do multiple tasks at once. I hear the person I am speaking with, and I maintain a conversation with them, but only on the very surface, almost never deeper than that. This allows me to feign empathy and an emotional connection to what the other person is saying while still devoting myself to what is distracting me. It is a very inefficient way of communicating.
I do this most often when I am talking to someone about something that isnt all that interesting or important to me. For example, when my girlfriend is watching “The Bachelorette”, Im almost always looking for anything else to distract me. I can communicate with her about her reaction to the events unfolding on the television show, but that is not easy to do when I dont have an opinion on what is happening because I havent been paying attention. She usually catches on very quickly that I have been paying attention to something else, and gives up on trying to communicate about the show. This past week, I decided to really devote my attention to what she was saying about the show. I quickly began picking up on the characters that she liked, disliked, and even hated. I was able to watch what was happening and tell why she felt the way she did about certain characters and also form my own opinions about them. It was far easier to talk to her about something that I had never paid attention to when I began listening to the reasoning behind her attitude towards these characters. I was surprised at how much easier it was to communicate about something that I really had no interest in, other than the level of satisfaction it brought to her.
In the future, communication will hopefully be easier because of these observations. It doesnt have to be difficult to communicate about something that doesnt interest you. I found that even if I wasnt talking much, just listening had a significant effect on our ability to communicate for the rest of the evening. This emphasis on empathic listening could have a great impact on other situations, including my professional life. Listening to my clients about their needs and the challenges they are facing will certainly affect how I prepare a plan for meeting with them.