If you observe the conversations around you, you’ll notice that, often, what many of us do is simply wait for our chance to speak. We’re not really listening to the other person, but simply waiting for an opening to express our own view. We often complete other people’s sentences, or say things like, “Yeah, yeah,” or “I know,” very rapidly, urging them to hurry up so that we can have our turn.
This harried form of communication encourages us to criticize points of view, overreact, misinterpret meaning, and form opinions, all before our fellow communicator is even finished speaking. No wonder we are so often annoyed, bothered, and irritated with one another. Sometimes, with our poor listening skills, it’s a miracle that we have any friends at all!
You’ll be pleasantly amazed at the softer reactions and looks of surprise as you let others completely finish their thought before you begin yours. Often, you will be allowing someone to feel listened to for the very first time. You will sense a feeling of relief coming from the person to whom you are speaking – and a much calmer, less rushed feeling between the two of you.
No need to worry that you won’t get your turn to speak — you will. In fact, it will be more rewarding to speak because the person you are speaking to will pick up on your respect and patience and will begin to do the same.