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How to Be a Better Listener: The Principles of Listening

Bunny CostumeBeing a good listener is somewhat of an art.  Bunny ears help, but barring that, we can distill it down to 4 principles.

Principle 1 — Silence

If you’re talking, how are you listening?

  • Don’t interrupt.  If you don’t know a word the speaker used, or you were unable to hear part of a sentence because your religious neighbours keep yelling “Oh, God!”, then it’s fine to ask for a clarification.
  • Silence the chatter in your mind too.  It’s even more noisy than that religious neighbour.

Principle 2 — Training

Like everything, being a good listener takes practice.

  • Use a gag ball to practice Silence.
  • If you inadvertently try to talk through the gag ball, have the speaker flog your buttocks.  If you make a sound, you get flogged again.  Keep going until you learn to be quiet.
  • If you don’t have a gag ball, duct tape will work.
  • The next step in training is to go from physical restraint to voluntary restraint.  Have your mouth free to speak, but attach your nipples to a car battery.  Every time you talk, well, you know the drill…

Principle 3 — Focus

Your attention should be on the speaker.  We all know this, but often don’t do it.

  • Do not judge or evaluate what is being said.  Focus on understanding what the other person is saying.
  • Not everybody is an eloquent speaker.  Focus on the content instead of criticizing their style.
  • When the speaker says something you don’t agree with, resist the urge to correct them.  The speaker is communicating their framework of thought to you and often single points will not make sense outside of that framework, so let them finish.  If you are thinking of objections, you aren’t devoting your mind to reconstructing their framework.
  • Is the hottie who’s going down on you distracting?  Perhaps some Training may help you focus even while getting your privates licked.

Principle 4 — Unity

How many relationships have been spoiled because of misunderstandings?  How much pain have we needlessly suffered because we did not listen properly?  As we talk and listen to each other, our minds merge — that’s culture.  By becoming better listeners, we are not only improving our personal life and our relationships, but we are improving the very fabric of society, the things that bind us together:  it could be our national, ethnic, or religious identity.  Or we could be part of a group fighting for green energy, humane treatment of animals, or blowjobs for all.  Whatever it is we believe in, being good listeners brings us together and lets us be a part of something bigger than us.

Congratulations.  You are now on the way to being a better listener.  If ever you find yourself in doubt, just remember that all you need to do is this: STFU (Silence, Training, Focus, Unity).

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One Response to "How to Be a Better Listener: The Principles of Listening"

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