Why don’t we listen better?
Communicating and connecting in relationships.
Tigard, OR: Petersen Publications.
Most people tend to think that they are good listeners but this flattering illusion is exposed by the fact that people do have conflicts at work and in family life. This means as James C.Petersen claims, that we are in fact, bad listeners. Good news is that there are comprehensive communicative techniques of listening that are bound to work and solve conflict situations if applied wisely.
The author who has years of prolific experience as a counselor and a clergyman means to use this book as a list of guidelines for people to improve their listening skills in particular and communicative skills overall, which they can apply in all fields. He gives thirty methods of listening that are aimed at improving interpersonal skills and creating resourceful atmosphere for business and relationshipsPart One of the book, Options of Communicating, deals with the principle of keeping balance between listening and speaking in a conversation. The author recalls several cases from his biography including his childhood when he first saw the dividends of active listening and discovered the way to listen deeper. He describes motivation to listen and care, which is about personal and spiritual growth: “When I took time to understand others, it not only benefited them, it benefited me”( Petersen, p.6). Further on, the author introduces his Flat-Brain Theory of emotions. He gives a picture of how emotions and minds interact with each other: there are Stomach functions, Heart functions, and Head functions.
While Stomach functions related with emotions and feelings, Head functions deal with how we think. In their turn, Heart functions lie in the middle, as if connecting the other two elements. They are about personal outlook and empathy, as well as general ability to build relationships and healthy communication. Communication is a mechanism that makes all three elements: Heart Talk, Stomach Talk and Head Talk function appropriately in a system and separately as well, as words are used as transformers of energy. In a humorous way, the author introduces his Flat-Brain Theory using a metaphor of stomach full of emotions pressing on the heart, which in its turn flattens the brain. A flat-brained person is described as the one who is obsessed with an emotion, no matter whether it is anger, fear or happiness. He or she can “infect” other people, so Peter offers strategies of reaction.Part Two of the book, in its turn, discusses an innovative concept that Petersen introduces: the so-called Talker-Listener Card.
It is necessary for moderation of the conversation to become aware of who is talking and who is listening. If people do it in turns, as a kind of a game, it helps keep the talk balanced and relations emotionally safe. It is a talker who owns the problem, while the listener is calm enough to take a reactive position. Part Three offers a number of …