Letting another person speak without interrupting is often presented as the obvious basis for communication. It is not necessarily a matter of listening to the end of a long speech, but also of doing so within the framework of a thought that has not yet been fully expressed when the interlocutor has the floor...
- When necessary -
We must really listen, that is to say, make the effort to understand even when it is not exciting. The same phenomenon occurs when we are bored while doing a task or listening to a speech that does not interest us : we wait painfully for time to pass.
In this kind of situation, one solution is to make the effort to be really interested in what is being said, as if we had to summarize the main ideas. Indeed, it is the investment in the realization of a task that satisfies the brain, even if it is a task that we would not have naturally chosen, whereas multitasking is a source of frustration.
So, let's not think about another topic while pretending to follow a discussion, read our e-mails or answer the phone during a conference (unless intervening in problems is part of our tasks).
- Even if we already know what is going to be said -
In general, someone who explains an idea to us wants to teach us something. If he/she does so with this intention when we already know the subject, we may want to interrupt him/her by saying « I already know ».
For several reasons, we need to accept this refresher until the explanation is complete :
- Even if we don't agree -
A point of view is a point from which we see the same thing differently. Our perspectives depend on our personal filters : past experiences, beliefs, values, logic of reasoning, etc. By accepting that this is not a truth in itself, we become aware that we are not always right or wrong (even if we are convinced of it).
The right thing to do when there are different points of view is to listen until the end. It's not just a form of communication, it's an effort to put ourselves in the other person's shoes and see things through their prism. This is where we will be able to be more convincing. Moreover, it will lead the other person to be more inclined to listen to us and find a common agreement. So, when the other person has finished, let's rephrase his/her idea to confirm that we have understood and rebound with a reminder of the facts and/or our opinion on the issue.
- Even at the risk of forgetting an interesting idea -
Focusing on what the other person is saying is difficult when an idea comes up and we want to speak immediately. It's not easy, it's real gymnastics to force ourselves to listen to the rest of the speech when our mind remains focused on other thoughts (like a parasitic effect) : we fear to forget the idea we want to express.
To stop the frustration of waiting for the moment when we can intervene, and to avoid cutting off the thread of the story in progress, the solution is to continue to be interested in what is being said. The easiest way to do this is to take notes when possible or to use a memorization technique : visualize by associating the idea with an image. The image you build can group together several ideas as you go along (it is easier to remember than an abstract thought).
- Cutting off speech when necessary -
When it comes to exchange and criticism that is not factual and constructive, it is necessary to interrupt our interlocutor to remind us of the rules of the conversation. It is necessary to know how to detect when it would be harmful to continue to listen : malicious remarks are attacks that can poison our mind.
Sometimes, it is enough to demand a factual approach so that the other person becomes aware of what he/she is saying. Let's remember that a point of view is not a truth and let's refuse to be confronted with the continuation of this discussion if the rules of benevolence are not respected.
Often, the urgency of disapproval or the desire to reassure pushes us to rebound quickly by interrupting the others. The first step is to become aware of this attitude that doesn’t serve us. Then, it is a whole state of mind to cultivate.
What do you think?