Being a good listener falls under the emotional competency of interpersonal effectiveness and is essential for anyone who wants to be able to fully engagewith another person, at home or at work. But can anyone be a good listener? Is it something you are born with or is it a skill you can develop?
Listening and hearing are not the same, though. You may hear many things going on around you, but you are not necessarily paying attention to them. Listening requires your attention, your focus and your energy. In her new book "Coping with Rejection", Julia Hislop discusses the importance of a being a good listener in developing good relationships. People appreciate someone with good listening skills and everyone loves to be really heard and understood, according to Hislop. So what does to mean to be a good listener? Is it just a matter of being quiet and staring blankly at the person until they are done talking? Not quite, according to Hislop. Hislop states it requires the ability to listen without interrupting, not even to give advice or share a similar story. It means to encourage the other person to speak fully without judging or preaching.
Have you ever been interrupted mid-story? How did it make you feel?
Being a good listener does not require you to provide counseling or be an expert in solving problems. It is to provide an outlet for another person and as a good listener you should indicate with small remarks and nods of the head that you are actually listening to what they are saying. This will clearly demonstrate you are paying attention and taking in what is being said, and not just staring at them. Finally, by making a small summary of what they have said at the end you will have confirmed your understanding and that you were truly listening.
Being a good listener is a skill and like any skill, it requires practice and effort, but it does get easier as the skill becomes part your interpersonal habit and routine. And being a good listener can have quite an influence according to Matthews: "Isn't it a special experience to have another take the trouble to see life through your eyes?". "People out there are starving for someone to listen totally. If you would choose to affect people positively, try listening with 100 per cent of your attention. You will become a special person for them."
"The most critical element of professional success in the world of business is the full engagement of its people. The Human Performance Institute recently conducted a national cross-industry study on employee engagement which unearthed the true realities companys face when their workforce is fully engaged or toxically disengaged.
This research shows how these varying engagement levels impact the bottom line of any organization and outlines solutions to improving or enhancing where your employees stand today.
Our SJRMC FET facilitators attended the Elite Athlete program by the Human Performance Institute in Colorado Springs a year ago. During this program, Dr. Jim Loehr, Co-Founder of the Human Performance Institute, encouraged all of us to begin journaling soon as we returned home and even gave us a journal (no excuses now).
- Be calm and relaxed: Imagery is most often effective when the mind is calm and the body is relaxed. Stop and get yourself to focus. Use deep breathing to help you be calm. Let the distracting thoughts and images float past as you reflect on the image.
- Use all your senses: Besides visualizing yourself and your surroundings, it is equally important to feel, hear, be aware of your body position, and even what the smell and taste will be during your experience. Paying attention to details will help make your imagery more vivid and real.
- Control your images: Make sure you see yourself and feel yourself accomplish your goal and performing as you want to perform. If you want to successfully exercise, image what you will look like when you exercise and how you will feel and look afterwards. If you want to avoid foods, focus on practicing smell and visual imagery to help you make the right choices. Keep your images positive especially if the event is stressful.
- Keep it simple at first: Practice in a safe, quiet environment at first. Use non-threatening and non-stressful situations until you are more confident in your imagery skills. When you feel more confident, pick a situation that you really want to accomplishing but isn’t too difficult. As you become more familiar with imaging, start each day by imaging your self accomplishing what is most important to you. Spend a few minutes every morning or every evening with imagery.
- Use your sense of “feel”: Make your images more vivid by imaging your body movement. Once you create a body experience to match what you are imaging, the image will strengthen. This is especially important if your goal depends on body movement.
I started my work day last Wednesday with a smile on my face. I was listening to National Public Radio and a woman speaking about her lack of success with dieting. She bought and tried every new diet book including the South Beach diet, Adkins Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, etc. and was somewhat successful initially but gain all her weight back plus more by the end of one year.
She is a creative writer and noticed the students in her classroom that were writing and journaling didn’t seem to gain as much weight throughout the school year as those that did not journal and write.
So where is this story going. Her new book is based on the three successful dieting tips. Guess what she discovered?
JOURNALING - allows you to discover how emotions and food are connected especially as you journal over several months. Journaling allows you to see how you reacted to a previous situation. If you are sad, stressed, disappointed, happy, excited and how these events affect you physically. You you may find what triggers you to do "emotional" eating. Journaling is a great way to stay connected to your purpose too.
FOOD LOGGING - it heightens awareness of what you eat. How many even remember what they ate for dinner two days ago? Those extra fat grams and calories creep back into our diet once we are not longer trying to lose weight
DAILY EXERCISE - this life long habit, not one just to lose weight. The benefits of exercise are well documented and the fashionable topic of discussion in many magazines. Why? Because it is true!
None of this should be a surprise to those that have attended the Full Engagement Training but are you practicing them? You don't need to buy any more expensive or trendy diet books. Just review what you learned in the FET program and follow the three successful tips above.
PS - I didn't realize until now how much time has gone by since my last blog. As many of you know from the FET program, rituals based on good habits occasionally have a set back. So no more setbacks for me. I am committed to writing a new blog once a month and you have permission to remind me if you see me slipping!
Struggling with your action plan or needing to kick start it again? Join us for the monthly On Going Practice sessions. One hour monthly sessions for those that need some accountability to stick with their action plan; learn more about nutrition; find out how to exercise aerobically; discuss how stories impact your ability to stick with that weight loss plan, exercise plan, or a plan that helps you meet your mission. Monthly sessions are 12:00 – 1:00pm. Bring your lunch and stay as long as your schedule allows. All sessions in the 4th Floor Conference Rm (Medical Floor).
Next session is August 12 12:00 - 1:00pm or 9:00 - 10:00 pm. Registering in Healthstream is advised so we know to plan on you attending. A SJRMC Dietitian and Leslie Thompson,, RN, will be the FET facilitators for this session.