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Self-proclaimed “American by Birth, Southern by the Grace of God”, a retired USA State Police Lieutenant with broad experience in SE Asia and China, David will focus on Online Obsessions and Real Relationships: Navigating Chinese/Western Cross Cultural Relationships. He'll share his and others experiences in internet dating, social networking and real life dating in China. Typically American, he will bring you the upside and downside of East/West relationships openly and directly. He hopes both genders can gain some useful knowledge from his blog as well as a few laughs.
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Active Listening Skills-Part 5: Chinese Dating Detective    

By David Lee
6520 Views | 6 Comments | 8/16/2010 1:35:29 AM
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The Chinese symbol for "To Listen" is wise beyond the art. The left side of the symbol represents an ear. The right side represents the individual- you. The eyes and undivided attention are next and finally there is the heart. This symbol tells us that to listen we must use both ears, watch and maintain eye contact, give undivided attention, and finally be empathetic. In other words we must engage in active listening!

Listen up! Do you hear me? Are you listening? Do you understand? I hope you do. Often when people communicate, they don't listen attentively or they don't show the speaker they're listening. Too often people are distracted, already thinking about what they want to say or about something else unrelated to the conversation. Such behaviors and attitudes often result in misunderstanding, conflicts, and broken or strained relationships. Active Listening helps you avoid these problems, improve your communication skills and build stronger online dating, as well as real relationships

Depending on the study being quoted, we only remember about 25-50% of what we hear. That means that when you talk to your friend, boss, coworkers, etc. for 10 minutes, both of you may only really hear 2½-5 minutes of the conversation.

In previous Chinese Dating Detective articles, I told you good communication skills require a high level of self-awareness. By first understanding your personal style of communicating, you will be on your way to creating good and lasting impression with others. The way to become a better listener is to practice “Active Listening”. This involves making a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, to try and understand the total overall message being sent. In order to be successful at this, you must pay attention to the other person very carefully.

Here is some great information from the U.S. Department of State on active listening combined with the silence techniques previously discussed:

“Active listening is a skill taught to teachers and police officers, counselors, ministers, rabbis and priests. It is a skill we would all do better having learned, practiced. To begin being an active listener we must first understand the four rules of active listening.

The Four Rules of Active Listening

1. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood.

2. Be non-judgmental.

3. Give your undivided attention to the speaker.

4. Use silence effectively.

Let's explore the rules of active listening.

1. Seek to understand before seeking to be understood. When we seek to understand rather than be understood, our modus operandi will be to listen. Often, when we enter into conversation, our goal is to be better understood. We can be better understood, if first we better understand. With age, maturity, and experience comes silence. It is most often a wise person who says little or nothing at the beginning of a conversation or listening experience. We need to remember to collect information before we disseminate it. We need to know it before we say it.

2. Be non judgmental. Empathetic listening demonstrates a high degree of emotional intelligence. There is a reason kids do not usually speak with adults about drugs, sex, and rock and roll. The kids already know what the adults have to say. Once a child knows your judgment, there is little reason to ask the question unless the intention is to argue. If we would speak to anyone about issues important to them, we need to avoid sharing our judgment until we have learned their judgment.

3. Give your undivided attention to the speaker. The Chinese symbol that we used to describe listening used the eyes and undivided attention. Absolutely important is dedicating your undivided attention to the speaker if you are to succeed as an active listener. Eye contact is less important. In most listening situations people use eye contact to affirm listening. The speaker maintains eye contact to be sure the listener or listeners are paying attention. From their body language the speaker can tell if he is speaking too softly or loudly, too quickly or slowly, or if the vocabulary or the language is inappropriate. Listeners can also send messages to speakers using body language. Applause is the reason many performers perform. Positive feedback is an endorphin releaser for the giver and the sender. Eye contact can be a form of positive feedback. BUT, eye contact can also be a form of aggression, of trying to show dominance, of forcing submissive behavior. All primates use eye contact to varying degrees. We should be careful how we use it when listening. If we want to provide undivided attention to a child, a better way to show your attention is to do a "walk and talk". Walk and talk is such a successful strategy that works well for active listening!

4. Use silence effectively. The final rule for active or empathic listening is to effectively use silence. Too often a truly revealing moment is never brought to fruition because of an untimely interruption. Some of the finest police interrogators, counselors, teachers and parents learn more by maintaining silence than by asking questions. As an active or empathic listener, silence is a very valuable tool. DO NOT interrupt unless absolutely necessary. Silence can be painful. It is more painful for a speaker than for a listener. If someone is speaking, and we want them to continue talking, we do not interrupt. Rather, we do provide positive feedback using body language, eye contact, and non word sounds like "Umh, huh". Silence is indeed golden especially when used to gather information as a listener. “

Here are some barriers to active and effective listening:

• We judge the person on how they say it and not on what is said or content.

• We already think we know what we are going to hear before it’s said.

• We are seeking confirmation and not information.

Remember it takes a lot of concentration and determination to be good at active listening. Your old habits may be hard to break if your listening habits are as bad as most people. Keep constantly reminding yourself your goal is to truly hear what the other person is saying. Set aside all other thoughts and behaviors and concentrate on the message. Ask questions, reflect, and paraphrase to ensure you understand the message. If you don’t, then you’ll find that what someone says to you and what you think you hear can be very different.

I hope you will start using active listening today to become a better communicator and improve your online dating and real relationships.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
Comments
(Showing 1 to 6 of 6) 1
#2010-08-16 01:37:24 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

I'm not sure David, but I think you may have just handed me the solution to the only problem with my marriage. Now if I can just get her to listen to me trying to explain it to her.

#2010-08-17 08:40:38 by mikelj @mikelj

All very good points, let me add another one. Don't assume you understood what was meant. Don't be afraid to summarize: "This is what I understood you to say..." We all know the adage about assuming and with cultural differences it is even more important.

#2010-08-21 13:16:06 by abi513 @abi513

John, you mean by "Saving your marriage" that you finally heard your wife say she wanted to go to Lijiang? :)

#2010-08-22 00:09:24 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

David, have you been eavesdropping on my private conversations with my lovely bride - how did you know this ;-)

#2010-09-02 12:48:55 by kbf4u @kbf4u

hey David, it is very useful for your idea of active listening. as for me, my listening and spkeaing english are very poor and i really need a way to improve it, so i am very glad to read your aircle and i am very glad if we can be freinds, i think you are a english teacher in china, right? okay , if you have time , i wanna be friend with you , may i ?

#2010-09-04 22:05:04 by abi513 @abi513

John, The Chinese Dating Detective never divulges his sources. Friends are always welcome Kbfru. yes, I'm a corporate business English teacher, as well as a retired USA State Police Lieutenant.

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