Stephen Covey – Empathic Listening

“Seek first to understand.”

We’re always the first ones that want to be heard first, instead of listening to others first. Michael Bernard Beckwith said on a recent video, “you know sometimes we’re always right.  We’re never wrong.”  However, this could hurt relationships along the way if you don’t become an active listener.

Sometimes when we’re listening we’re preparing to speak.  I won’t name any names, but there is an entrepreneur who’s listening to one individual but he’s already preparing to speak over the other individual.  Self-control also deals a lot with this. We have a tendency of filtering everything through our own paradigms.  We relate it to our lives, too.

Kind of like, “oh, I know exactly how you feel! I went through the same thing.  Let me tell you about my experience.”

We constantly project our home movies onto other people’s behavior.

Here’s a good example out of Stephen Covey’s book.

A father once told me, “I can’t understand my kid.  He just won’t listen to me at all.”

“Let me restate what you just said,” I replied. “You don’t understand your son because he won’t listen to you?”

“That’s right,” he replied.

“Let me try again,” I said. “You don’t understand your son because he won’t listen to you?”

“That’s what I said,” he impatiently replied.

“I thought that to understand another person, you needed to listen to him,” I suggested.

“Oh!” he said. There was a long pause. “Oh!” he said again. “But I do understand him.  I know what he’s going through.  I went through the same thing myself.  I guess what I don’t understand is why he won’t listen to me.”

This man doesn’t have a clue what’s going on inside his boy’s head.  He related his own experiences to his boy.

This is the problem with a lot of us.  We’re filled with our own rightness.  Our conversations become monologues, and we never really understand what’s happening in the inside of another human being.



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