Wolvin, één van de oprichters van de International Listening Association geeft in een opiniestuk op omaha.com aan dat de 21ste eeuw allerlei luister-uitdagingen met zich meebrengt. De digitale technologie heeft een grote impact op de menselijke communicatie. We neigen ernaar steeds minder tijd te besteden aan enige vorm van betekenisvol, face-to-face interactie met anderen. Hij betoogt dat het in deze tijd van verdergaande polarisatie juist belangrijk is om wel tijd te besteden aan het beluisteren van de overtuigingen en ideeën van andersdenkenden. Hieronder het gehele originele bericht.
Andrew Wolvin: We need to refresh listening skills
The writer, a former speech and drama teacher at Omaha’s Beveridge Middle School, is a communication professor at the University of Maryland and a founding member of the International Listening Association. Omaha’s Warren Buffett has emphasized the importance of preparing today’s students with effective communication skills. And good communicators must not only be articulate speakers; they must also be good listeners. So, having grown up in rural Nebraska when people listened to each other, it’s exciting for me to return “home” to Omaha this week for the annual conference of the International Listening Association.
It’s apparent that the 21st century has brought with it listening challenges. The impact of digital technology on human communication is profound. As a recent Nielsen Report revealed, people today spend almost 11 hours a day in front of screens. And this reliance on electronic media has led us to spend less time in any kind of meaningful, face-to-face interaction with others. Rather, as the present political climate reflects, we may be losing any sense of civil discourse. Hate messages, bullying, threats and insults are more prevalent, and “alternative facts” and “fake news” often remain unquestioned. It’s going to take a culture shift to get back to civil listening.
As a communication professor who has spent my career studying listening, I would hope we can soon return to a listening-centered society. To get there isn’t easy. Listening engagement takes motivation, energy, concentration and commitment. As listeners, we need to be taught how to listen effectively — something that requires more attention in schools. Once we understand the complexities of the physiological and the psychological process involved in listening, we need the skills to do it well. We should learn how to listen to understand others’ viewpoints, ideas and concerns even when they differ from our own. It helps to engage with compassion and understanding. Too often, we go to a critical evaluation of what a person is communicating when that assessment may be premature or even unnecessary. We have to embrace listening as a serious, complex communication act that requires us to engage fully with our ears, our eyes, our brain and, indeed, our heart.
Clearly, we have to be willing to look up from the smartphone or the tablet, focus on the person and his/her message and respond appropriately to what the individual is (and/or is not) saying. My International Listening Association colleagues and I are indebted to the pioneering research on listening by Ralph Nichols, who always reminded us: “The most basic of human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” Our world depends on it.
Bron: www.omaha.com (29 juni 2017)
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