The biggest problem with our communication is that it focuses on the most suitable and frappant replies instead of understanding the other person.
Is it really a problem? When? For whom?
I have met many faces of attention both in my private and my professional life. A lot of conversations slip unnoticeably into telling stories and giving advice as more and more witty comebacks keep on upping the ante. If the spirits are high, many of us might feel that we had a hearty conversation.
What happens on these occasions?
When I interrupt and thus push the other person off the track and make them lose their train of thoughts, when I comment, when I prepare for the answer or my next question, I am, in fact, in connection with myself instead of my partner.
Who had a nice conversation then and who was paying attention to whom?
The most important question is what my goal is with the given conversation. This type of attention is perfectly suitable for having fun or breaking the ice. However, if I’m about to have a really supportive conversation, I might want to produce another type of attention from my toolkit. We tend to seek out and enjoy situations when we are in focus, even if for a short time. It feels so good to be understood even if the other person doesn’t agree with us. It makes us feel safe and calm.
The starting point is that the other person is (also) able to view a situation as we do. I welcome and benefit from the fact that they make me see the same situation in a different way.
I always cherish the moment when I can speak to a person who is willing to dedicate their attention to me…
…i.e. willing to hear what the other person is really saying and not what can be concluded or derived from what is being said. When they ask questions for clarification in the flow of information. Not for being nosy but for being unambiguous. This is how the experience recounted will be clear for both the speaker and the listener. This is the foundation for supportive communication.
Am I able to reach the state, where I truly devote my attention and listen, connect, and tune in to what the other person has to say. To connect to the other person instead of myself.
This is really something I can give during the course of our work together.