So I’m back to where I was about a month ago feeling some type of way about my article. That clear and concise agenda I had when I wanted to speak about the art of listening somehow faded when I was told by a female acquaintance that the presentation sounded like a “textbook on sensitivity training”. I began to doubt what I was being led to talk about and ran from the subject matter. The more I ran from the issue, the more instances were being shown to me. Whether it was my staff who failed to retain information I had given them in several staff meetings, a date refusing to believe that mental stimulation wins me over above all else, or my son claiming that he forgot to complete his chores, the point was very clear: People don’t listen.
It’s interesting that most of us believe that we are born with this innate gift to listen to others. Yes, most of us are born with two ears and we are able to hear sounds and words. But do we actually listen? The answer is an emphatic no! We the people feel that we do listen simply because we sit and give an ear to someone but ask yourself, how many times are you interrupting to put your two cents in? How many times are you distracted with other thoughts going on in your mind? Trust me, we have all been there. In a past relationship, my girlfriend would want to tell me about her day at the most inopportune time. I would insist I was being attentive to her but really, I wasn’t. My attention was on my sports show while her conversations sounded like the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons (yes, the muted trumpet sounding teacher). I guess I missed those parts where she was being reprimanded at work and she finally ended up losing her job. . . . .
Now before you tar and feather me, I told my former girlfriend upfront that I didn’t want to be bothered while watching PTI. The show was a way for me to relax after a long day of dealing with other people’s problems. However, that was not convenient for her and she didn’t harken to me. Most times she would interject her thoughts whenever I talked to her which turned our friendship into a one-sided relationship. I found myself refusing to converse with her because of this. Her own ego and agenda had to be pushed, no matter the cost which was ultimately our relationship. . . . . . .
How many of you have a book about how to listen effectively in relationships? Anyone? Before I started to write, I went to my bookshelf and looked at all the self help books I had purchased over the years. Amazingly enough though, no books on listening. And if I went into most of my friends and acquaintances homes, they wouldn’t have any books dedicated to listening either. It’s funny though. Most of the self help books I own all have a chapter on listening in some form. For example, in “His Needs, Her Needs”, William Harley, Jr talks about being able to listen (to genuinely seek and understand another person’s thoughts, feelings, experience, and point of view) effectively to your significant other. That means that you are listening without wanting to provide answers or ask questions, which is difficult. Harley goes on to say that making time to communicate is very important. However, like most of the books on my shelf, it only gets a chapter. Why is that?
So how do we become better at listening? Honestly, we have to change our mentality and view it as something that is sexy. Yeah, let me say that again. We have to look at listening as something sexy because . . . . . it is. When I go out on a date, one of the most important weapons in my arsenal is listening. Whether in a restaurant or a coffee shop, I normally make sure that I’m sitting directly across from the young lady, giving my full attention to all the words that come from her alluring lips. I look into her eyes deeply trying to find a reflection of myself in her tomorrow. I’m watching her movements, her subtle nuances that will tell me more than her words will say. My ears wait to hear the information that will help me find more favor than my predecessors. The young lady normally finds me endearing and more attractive because of it (most times). And while I thought that this was something that only females would like, I find myself being hypnotized by a woman who is giving me her undivided attention. Whenever a woman is leaning in, smiling, attentive, listening to my thoughts uninterrupted, I find myself feeling more of a man. . . . . . .
Although listening is sexy, it has to be practiced. Look I’m close to forty and I’m still learning! It’s a skill that has to be practiced over and over again. Many top employers provide listening skill training for their employees annually. People who truly listen understand that effective listening provides solid, reliable benefits. Listening expands your knowledge, helps best solve problems, aids in negotiations, reduces mistakes and misunderstandings, and enhances the relationship. So instead of asking for that Michael Kors ladies, your man gives it to you because you listen to him and save your conversation until after the game. Instead of asking for head when you are stressed fellas, your woman meets you at the door. Who doesn’t want that? Listen more and it can happen for you. . . . .
. . . . . I mean we still want that Black Love right?