Why is it that some of us find it a lot easier to talk than to listen?
It may be that we are not really interested in what someone else has to say (that’s difficult to admit), that we are more interested in having the opportunity to say what we think, or just that we find listening to be hard work. After all, it requires concentration, it requires the discipline to refuse to be distracted or to interrupt, and we need to maintain on our focus on someone else – their story and their situation.
In their book, The Emerging Leader, Peter and Colin Shaw write that,
The art of listening is about being fully present, recognising where others are coming from, summarising back what you have heard and allowing your focus and words to be in a rhythm with the person you are engaged with. Listening is never about blank eyes or a droopy head. It is responding to the mood and tenor of those you are engaged with.
Isn’t it true that when we experience someone genuinely listening to us, we can feel tremendously valued and cared for? I’d suggest that good listening is an expression of what Scripture describes as counting others more significant than ourselves.