The Art of Listening



During our Communication Theory class in college, I remember a section that we touched upon called " The Art of Listening." I don't recall all that Dr. Pullen taught us during that section, but I remember that we watched the classic movie "Twelve Angry Men" starring Henry Fonda and other iconic actors such as Lee Cobb and Jack Klugman. An all-star cast in an all-time great film.


We discussed the roles of the "Jurors " in the film and their communication styles. Henry Fonda was a quiet, attentive listener who engaged in critical listening and thinking throughout the film. He offered insightful, persuasive viewpoints. We, as a class, were moved to discuss how Fonda's communication style proved to be such an essential element within the film's plot. One trait that held true from beginning to end for the characters was the importance of listening effectively. There is a difference between listening and hearing.


Hearing involves an automatic brain response. We hear sounds and noises all of the time. Listening involves the focused action or intent to concentrate on what is being said, in order to gather information or engage in a new experience. I try to listen mindfully for periods during a walk/hike in nature. I also often begin meditation and prayer by first listening to how I am breathing. I try to balance my breath slowly, thus calming my brain. We are better able to be more sympathetic and empathetic if we practice the art of listening. Not only are we able to respond more effectively, but those that we are listening to will appreciate our attention to them. Few words may be spoken and the other person may not even realize it, yet they will appreciate the time spent. It takes practice, this I know. It is a work in progress. This, I certainly know as well. The benefits though, are great.


Glow Community, be kind, help others, look, listen and learn. Enjoy this day please.




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