Question

Questions to discuss: (Do not attempt to solve if you cannot answer all). 1) Do most...

Questions to discuss: (Do not attempt to solve if you cannot answer all).

1) Do most people focus FIRST on seeking to understand or seeking to be understood? Why? What effect does this have on others?

2) When you "seek first to understand," and when you listen patiently and empathically to others, it may result in you being persuaded and/or influenced by them. However, do you think it is possible to influence or even change others simply by listening empathically to them and "seeking first to understand" their views?

3) What happens to another person's defenses when they sense that you are not in the first instance trying to persuade them but rather are sincerely seeking to understand their views with an open and patient mind?

4) In what way can LISTENING be a "strategy" for interpersonal and organizational effectiveness?

5) Can you share a brief example, anecdote, or story to illustrate any of your comments?

Homework Answers

Answer #1

1) Most people focus first on seeking to be understood. This gives them a sense of belonging and being accepted. It makes them feel better about themselves and to get a sense of satisfaction from the relationship. However, the other person will not feel like it if they see that you are not trying to understand them. Rather than listening patiently people tend to give personal opinions in between a conversation.

2) It is true that seeking to understand may result in being persuaded or influenced by others. But, if one is clear about his objective or goal of the communication, it is less likely that one will get persuaded or influenced by others. Further, they will have an advantage in influencing the other person, since they have already been seeking to understand them by listening effectively.

3) The other person will become less defensive and more open when they see that we seeking to understand their views with an open and patient mind. They will be more free and open in the communication and will begin to trust us. This makes it easier to persuade and influence them at a later stage in the conversation.

4) Listening with an intention of understanding others will make a person more likeable. The others will tend to talk more and seek advice from such people. So, people who listen actively with an open and patient mind will be more effective in interpersonal relationships within the organization. Even organizations can become more effective listeners by understanding the needs of its customers and employees. This will help the firm in running its business more effectively.

5) I was once having a conversation with my friend. I was talking with him about how I met with an accident. My friend immediately began to share his personal experiences of how he met with dangerous incidents. I did not like the conversation and immediately left from there.

Later, when I thought about it, I understood that my friend was not listening to me empathically. Instead of trying to understand the pain and agony I felt after the accident, he was trying to give his own personal incidents. It is not that I did not want to listen to his story. But his immediate response made me feel bad about the conversation. This experience made me understand the importance of listening to others empathically with an open and patient mind.

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