WHY DON'T WE LISTEN BETTER?
BY JAMES C. PETERSEN
TERENCE M. SYKES
NOVEMBER 21, 2010
1. BOOK SUMMARY
When it comes to communication and the techniques necessary to be an effective communicator, most people lack the skills that would make them so. Being an effective talker can only be labeled “effective” if the one being spoken to is also an effective listener. “In fact, those who don’t listen to us eventually become those who used to matter to us” (Petersen, 22).
“Motivated by the pure joy of connecting at a deeper level with people” (Ibid, 6) and desiring the same from others, James C. Petersen takes on the challenge of answering the question, “Why Don’t We Listen Better? by first of all insisting upon the fact that every individual be keenly aware of his/her emotional state. In his studies, he “observed that feelings and thoughts are really different from each other and yet affect each other significantly” (Ibid, 10). There are emotional functions of the stomach, which indicate our happiness, anger, irritability, and curiosity, etc., as well as heart and head functions that also play a vital part in our ability to communicate effectively.
There are two levels of communication. “Level one communicating gives and receives information and discusses points of view… Level two communicating… moves us toward more satisfying relationships” (Ibid, 18-19). The enemy of effective communicating is what Petersen calls the “Flat-Brain Syndrome” where those who are plighted with this malady “tend to think that others are the problem” (Ibid, 25) rather than owning the problem themselves. Some of the characteristics of those with “Flat-Brain Syndrome” are that their stomach overloads with hurt feelings, their hearts become like bricks as they become resistant, their hearing becomes skewed while they gather misinformation,...