Why Don’t We Listen Better

1 January 2017

Petersen (2011) provides a practical guide for readers who are interested in increasing their ability to communicate amongst others in a multitude of settings which include but are not limited to business, familial, and romantic. Within this book, Petersen presents common, yet overseen communication errors which many individuals become conflicted with. With these common errors, Petersen then provides his view on how to overcome particular barriers which prohibit positive growth amongst those who seek to effectively communicate with one another.

Petersen helps the reader understand that what results in a breakdown of communication is in part, due to the fact that the individuals involved in the process, fail to see the emotion behind what is being verbalized. This emotion however becomes translated as an attack, or defense to an attack which is perceived as one in the same thing (p. 108).

Why Don’t We Listen Better Essay Example

The theories which Petersen has developed, thus presents as a means to introduce, and illustrate common communication pitfalls begins with the notion of what he calls “The Flat Brain Theory of Emotions” (p. 0). I translated this theory to be a means of understanding the common errors which take place when an individual’s combined thoughts, and emotions, fail to convey the message which they are attempting to impart upon whom they are communicating. The messages within the brain, get construed with the emotions which are give us sensations at the pit of our stomach, and our judgment becomes clouded by need to be felt, understood, affirmed, and acknowledged.

Petersen however provides further information on how both the talker, and the listener are able to get their needs met, have an effective communication process, become solution focused, and ultimately build their relationship. To assist in this process, Petersen includes a patented Talker Listener Card which becomes a virtual third conversation member, or mediator which encourages both parties to be truthful, honest to the communication process, and goal oriented. Petersen states, “using the TLC forces us to observe the roles we play.

Placing the card between us takes some of the heat out of discussing the difficult issues. ” He continues further in saying, “This two pronged action makes it harder to get caught up in an argument. ” If it is such that avoiding an argument is a portion of the communication goal, the Talker Listener Card assists by providing direction, and goals for both the talker and listener. The talker within the conversation is reminded that they are most bothered, and own the problem (p. 65).

The goals of the talker are to share feelings and, thoughts without accusing, attacking labeling, or judging. The other side of the card is for the listener’s focus, as it reminds the listener to remain calm enough to hear the talker, and the problem which the talker presents is not theirs to own. The listener should also seek to provide safety, understanding, and clarity without agreeing, disagreeing, advising, or defending themselves (p. 67) The remainder of the book introduces various methods and scenarios which the Talker, Listener card would be applicable.

Petersen also provides the reader with direction relating to listening techniques, and how to get beyond the many communication barriers which hinder the ability to build healthy relationships by effectively listening. YOU! My Reflection Reading this book comes at a time where many of the disagreements between my wife, and I, are due to a matter of miscommunication. For example, my wife has a method of communicating which was difficult for me to understand because of her own vernacular. She would ask me to “turn off” a candle, or to “itch” a body part instead of “scratch” it.

If I am lying in the bed she will still encourage me to “go to bed” rather than “go to sleep”, or to pick something off of the “ground” while we are in the house. Her misinterpretations of vocabulary, or simple miscommunication does not stop there as I am certain that many of our arguments have come about because either one of us did not entirely understand what the other was trying to say while speaking on a sensitive issue. The parts of this book which are about me came as I was reading, and examining the “listener” portion of the material. I found many statements to be true relating to how I do not always effectively, or actively listen.

I was able to admit that I am a listener advisor, meaning that as opposed to simply allowing an individual to speak for the purpose of being herd, or processing their own thoughts, and eventual solutions, I would normally take the burden of trying to solve the talkers problems. I also would find myself not properly listening, especially if I am searching my mental archives for the right answer, response, or occasional ego developed catch phrase. During the course of reading this book, I attempted to apply the suggestions, and recommendations while speaking with my wife about some of he issues which she has with her father.

I felt like I did a good job for the most part in being able to actively listen, while providing minimal to no advice, and directing her toward establishing a goal for herself. Then I presented an issue which her, and I have had since the beginning of our relationship, this then turned into her getting defensive, and in that defense, attacking me as a cause or continuation of the issue. I did not feel proud in the slightest that the conversation took this direction, and we are still trying to sort through this issue.

LOOK! My Investigation I approached reading this book as a task necessary to fulfill a class requirement, in addition to personally feeling as though I need to increase my ability to effectively communicate. Thus there were many “ah ha” moments which I experienced while absorbing the information. While I do not feel that this book is a catch all relating to communicating, Petersen certainly provides some practical, and at many times simple methods to overcome our humanistic pitfalls, which seem to be more of a matter of improper expression of emotions.

One “ah ha” moment I experienced as Petersen mentioned, “swallowing the physical urge to defend himself” (p. 42). Had I done this in the past, like I had done just two days ago while speaking with my wife, I am certain that I would have been able to avoid the few heated arguments which we previously have had, and with other individuals who at times desire to get an emotional response by using triggering words or behavior. What bothers me about this book is how in order for me to get much of the needed guidance, I had to sift through what I felt was jargon relating too many of his experiences.

I felt that I did not need to know particular times, or reference points about the environment in which he was having a particular conversation. I would have rather enjoyed a more how-to manual on techniques which one can use to become a better talker, and listener, thus communicator. In retrospect, I did experience at least one “ah ha” moment from an example which he shared. This further helped me appreciate the particular writing approach which Petersen provided.

Relating to Hawkins’ Pastoral Assessment of the Self, the material in the book interfaces with this model in that, at the center of the model, the Image of God, the Holy Spirit and the Human Spirit are identified. It is in my opinion that those three elements are essential in simultaneous operation while communicating. One primary reason why people experiencing issues, or individual crisis’ seek the assistance of a counselor is because counselors are expected to be effective listeners.

Petersen, by using his Talker Listener model, assists the reader in being able to understand, and exemplify how to limit your emotional responses, and while listening, do so with understanding, clarity, and providing safety to the talker. Ephesians 1:13 states, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise”. Because it is that we trust in the Pastoral Counselor to exemplify the works of the messiah, he or she may also provide us with direction to the Holy Spirit which dwells within all members of humanity.

I appreciate the diagram which Petersen provides on page 44 which assists the reader in identifying the process of reflecting proper head, heart and stomach talk. I would like to use a diagram as such within my developed pastoral assessment to assist a new, or returning client in better identifying their head (logic), heart (feeling), and stomach (emotional) talk. I feel this would assist the client in being able to build a communication style which enables them to properly regulate their own communication process so that they can eventually learn to effectively convey their message.

DO! This book has encouraged me to continue to explore how I can become a better communicator. It has helped me understand some of the common errors which I make when communicating with others. One important portion of the material which I have committed to memory is, “being good listeners requires that we change our primary focus from ourselves to the interests of others” (p. 42). Prior to reading the many points which Petersen introduced regarding being a good listener, my ego was telling me that I was a good listener.

I now understand that being an effective listener has more to do than simply waiting for your turn to talk. Another portion of my communication style which I know I need to change in order to be able to progress in my interpersonal relationships is the tendency to take my feelings out on others, rather than sharing them. Peter pointed out a habit which I unknowingly commit to doing when I talk, which is using “I feel that”. By the verbalization of the term, it was my understanding that I effectively shared my feelings.

I now understand it to be in interlude to a verbal attack, and in reflecting, it has always led to an escalated debate with my loved ones, or simply an argument. I will also attempt to share this with those whom I know to use it as a means to express their emotions as well. My 7 Spiritual Gifts profiler pointed out that a gift which I have is being an encourager. It stated that encouragers tell people what to do with truth, and that they are sought after as counselors. In retrospect however, it stated that encouragers have the tendency to talk too much.

I found this very interesting because as I grow within my pastoral experience, I find myself increasingly interested in counseling, to the point that I have had individuals literally tell me that I can counsel with my eyes closed. Though this is a strong attribute of mine, I have also utilized my own understanding of myself, in combination with the profiler to understand that indeed, I do at times talk too much. Where-as Hawkins states, “Much of the real work in personal transformation takes place because of the power that is at work in the inner world of the careseeker (slide 4). I need to increase my ability to effectively listen, and thus perform greater works with individuals who could use those listening skills to sort through their issues on into finding meaningful solutions through the interaction of the Holy Sprit as it is found from within.

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