21 Nov Are You Half-Listening?
This time of year reminds me of something: I have less time than desired. Therefore, the temptation to half-listen to people is even greater. Here are a couple of communication tips to help you make it through the holidays and not ruin your work or family relationships:
1. Intentionally listen to others with your ears AND eyes. Put down your technological device (phone, laptop, mouse) and look at the person you are speaking to. This will force you to listen with more sincerity.
2. Intentionally create a space for your tech time. For me, the bar-top between our kitchen and living room seemed like a great place to work. I could make dinner, check my email, and still be within an earshot of a needy child. Then, I heard the pleas, “Mom, you are always on your computer.” Although I was not (nor ever feel like I get enough time on the computer), the mere sight of the open laptop served as a constant reminder, and me working a few minutes here or there, gave the impression that I was indeed on the computer all of the time. I created a space upstairs where I am “off-limits.” My kids and spouse now know when I am working and not able to listen to them. Conversely, when I am away from my space, they know I am fully present because I am no longer half-listening.
Do you wonder if you are a half-listener? Ask your closest friends or relatives if they think you are fully present with them. They will know. I watch half-listening take place all of the time–at parties, at the grocery store, in our offices. We are a mobile society now, with even more distractions. It takes careful self-awareness and an intentional course of action to combat the temptation to half-listen.
Being completely present with others is one of the greatest gifts we can give this holiday season.
Be true to your spirit, celebrate joyously, and may you be safe in your journeys!