Communication skills: Raising your words, not your voice

3. The Importance of Listening

I will be brutally honest with this one: In the past, I used to be very self-absorbed and eager to take space in conversations. I used to listen in order to know what to say next instead of being fully present for others with mind, body and soul, so that I could understand their perspectives and points of view. I tended to interrupt others in the attempt of explaining or defending myself. In other words, conversations were generally a lot about me, not so much about others.

Sometimes, the only thing we have to do in a situation that might look like a conflict or disagreement is to hear what other people have to say with genuine care, curiosity, compassion, and attention.

In my case, I had to learn how to listen actively. During conversations, I imagined myself having a zipper on my mouth, closing that zipper while people were talking, and allowing myself to open the zipper only once they finished. This simple exercise helped me to get present and focused on the other person, both in my personal life and career.

In a world where most people love to talk about themselves, being able to listen to another person is a form of love.