Why Don't We Listen Better?: Communicating and Connecting Relationships

Why Don't We Listen Better?: Communicating and Connecting Relationships

by L.P.C. Petersen D.Min
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NewLife Publications
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Why Don't We Listen Better?: Communicating and Connecting Relationships

With a light touch and sensible techniques, Dr. Jim Petersen distills years of counseling and pastoral ministry into an informal volume loaded with practical tips, examples and techniques to practice.

His book highlights our culture's courtroom-like communication that often puts people at odds with each other. Most people think they listen well but don't and folks walk away unheard, misunderstood and disconnected.

Readers will chuckle in recognition at the tongue-in-cheek but spot-on “flat-brain” theory of emotions. It shows how and why we get upset and confused in tense situations and what to do about it. It lays the practical groundwork to better manage emotionally loaded situations.

This book shows communication that works and is equally appropriate for professionals, such as pastors and therapists and for the general public. The ingenious Talker-Listener Card gives a taking-turn method to end arguing as we know it. It works for couples, business relationships, church listening programs, counselors, group discussions and the family dinner table listening game.

Thirty listening techniques will help the reader immediately begin to turn enemies into friends, poor relationships into decent ones and good relationships into better ones. These accessible skills are being used in pastoral counseling classes, counseling offices, church staffs, professional offices, on dates, in corporate board rooms and at kitchen tables around the country .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780979155901
Publisher: NewLife Publications
Publication date: 02/08/2008
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 238
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Dedication     v
Options in Communicating     1
Communication Became Important to Me     3
I learned some of this early     5
Listening deeper     6
What's ahead in the book?     7
To get the most out of the book     8
The Flat-Brain Theory of Emotions     10
Stomach functions     11
Heart functions     12
Head functions     12
Directing our emotions     12
Does thinking affect our feelings?     13
Rationalizing stirs our disconnections     14
How it's all supposed to work     15
Where do stomach, heart, and head talk fit?     16
Communication - Connecting & Disconnecting     18
Two levels of communication     18
When we don't hear each other     20
When you want a listener and get a pool-grabber     21
Being heard     22
The Flat-Brain Syndrome     23
Stomachs overload     23
Hearts turn bricklike     25
And brains go flat     25
Hearing is skewed     27
Seeing is distorted     28
And the mouth works overtime     29
True and not true     30
Four goals to counter the flat-brain syndrome     30
Reduce emotional disturbance     31
Clarify thinking     31
Increase self-confidence     31
Build a supportive friendship     31
The Flat-Brain Tango     33
A courtroom culture     35
Courtroom or collaboration?     36
Opting Out of the Flat-Brain Syndrome     38
Victors or friends?     38
The need to win     39
Handling a "thud"     40
Do I deserve a shot?     41
Changing communication habits     41
The Double-Reverse-Twist     42
Reflecting head, stomach, and heart talk     44
Let's dance to a new song     44
The Talker-Listener Process     47
Going Beyond the Tango     49
Taking Turns Seems Simple     50
One fish story at a time     52
Good listeners improve our stories     53
Teeth marks in the tongue     54
End arguing as we know it     54
The Talker-Listener Card     55
The TLC as intervention     56
We all forget     57
Getting ready to use the TLC     57
Observing pays dividends     58
Telephone practice     60
A coffee house experiment     60
Try the TLC with a "safe" friend     62
Can you use the TLC with yourself?     63
Some people can't listen     63
TLC - Who Talks First?     65
Talker - I'm most bothered     65
If neither of you can listen...what then?     66
Listener - I'm calm enough to hear     67
Thud means listen     68
Don't let a question mask what someone needs to say     68
Does the TLC help when only one person uses it?     69
TLC - Who Owns the Problem?     70
Talker - I own the problem     70
Bouncing pronouns     70
The issue is deeper than pronouns     72
There are exceptions     73
The four-alarm issue in problem ownership     73
Listener - I don't own the problem     75
TLC - What Does the Talker Do?     76
First Talker Goal - To share my feelings     77
Stomach talk     77
Watch out for the dreaded "I feel that..."     78
Sharing feelings is risky, but worth it     79
Second Talker Goal - To share my thoughts     80
Head talk     80
Compliments     81
Sharing thinking is risky too     82
Third Talker Goal - My     82
Ownership     83
Openness     83
Heart talk     84
The EHJs of balanced communication     85
TLC - Talk Without     89
Talker - Without accusing, attacking, labeling, or judging     89
Using the finger method     90
The finger method with heat     90
TLC - What Does the Listener Do?     92
Two heads better than one?     92
First Listener Goal - To provide safety     93
Serious safety in a world of alligators     94
Second Listener Goal - To understand     95
Non-judgmental listening     96
Listening: dangerous to our opinions     97
Third Listener Goal - To clarify     98
Will listening change anyone?     99
Sometimes listening doesn't work     100
Listening into people's lives     101
TLC - Listen Without     102
Listen - Without agreeing     102
Useful agreement     103
Agreement, a substitute for friendship?      104
Listen - Without disagreeing     104
Listen - Without advising     105
Do quick answers pay off?     106
When asked a question, ask a question     106
When you do give advice     107
Listen - Without defending     107
Defending equals attacking     108
When to Turn the Card     109
In simple conversations: A loop     109
If the conversation is complex: Longer     110
With people who talk all the time     111
The Listening Techniques     113
A Few Communicating Traps     115
Ritual listening     115
Perry Masons     116
"Why?"     118
"Not?"     119
"I understand"     120
"Yes, but..."     121
When "Yes, but..." helps     122
What if a talker or listener uses a trap on us?     122
When Trying New Skills     124
Basic Listening Techniques     126
Note the odd punctuation mark (...?)     127
Acknowledge     127
Repeat Accurately     128
When at a listening loss     130
Use Para-Feeling     130
Whose feelings are they?     131
Use Para-Thinking     132
To clarify thinking is a process     133
Alternate Feelings and Thoughts     133
Use Both Hands     135
Number Feelings     136
Special case: Guys and their feelings     136
Low-level feelings     137
Play Detective     138
Life-planning     139
Use questioning carefully     139
Guess     140
Interrupt     141
Own Your Own Feelings     142
"How's school?" "Fine."     143
Decode     144
No one knows what anyone really said?     146
Meet Intensity     147
Admit Ignorance     148
Hem and Haw     149
Hemming and hawing after school     149
Match Pace     150
Allow Space     151
Ring the Pebble     152
Lead the Witness     153
Parental responsibility     154
Explore the Future     156
Special Circumstances Listening Techniques     157
Old Folks and "Boring" Stories     157
Problems or Predicaments?     159
Fear Barriers      160
Tears     162
After a Death     164
The six-and-a-half-week rule     165
If people don't really want to talk about it     165
Religious issues at death     165
Rigidity     167
Expectations and Anger     169
Persistent Anger and Bullfighters     171
Asking for Help     172
What About the Heaviest Listening Situations?     175
Suicide Hints     176
First a disclaimer     176
Using the TLC in Groups     181
The Listening Game (At Mealtimes)     183
The rules of engagement     184
One family's example     185
The TLC with game rules can help a family crisis     187
Guiding Difficult Group Discussions     190
Moderating Two-Party Conversations     195
Making Decisions Together     203
Sharing     203
Negotiating     205
Closing     205
Concluding Philosophy     207
Beyond Skill     209
What does it take?     209
Empathy     210
Genuineness     211
Warmth     211
Therapeutic or thera-noxious?     212
Acknowledgements     215
About Jim Petersen     219
Appendix     221
The Flat-Brain Slump     221
Additional book order information     223
Talker-Listener Cards and order information     225

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Why Don't We Listen Better?: Communicating and Connecting Relationships 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Peterson provides valuable insight on what is going on in our bodies when we are listening and communicating by describing our head functions, stomach functions, and heart functions. Peterson suggests that stomachs put our feelings into words, head functions put our thoughts into words and heart functions put ownership on what we feel and provide space for openness. Due to the incorrect ways in which we have learned to communicate, we have a difficult time listening to people; therefore we talk instead of listening. Peterson introduces the flat-brain syndrome, when our stomachs expand with an overload of mixed emotions, pressing on the heart functions to prevent the ability to relate to others. The build-up in the heart/chest causes the upward expansion to flatten the brain against the skull, causing the impairment of hearing, seeing and thinking. The flat-brain syndrome occurs when our stomachs drop or we have butterflies, usually when we are upset, depressed, nervous, worried, afraid, or excited and we lose the ability to listen and rationalize. The flat-brain syndrome can very well lead us into arguments with another person; Peterson calls this the flat-brain tango. When an argument occurs the person who is flat-brained usually just talks and does not think about what their saying and how it may effect the other person they are speaking with; resulting in an attack. Therefore the other person feels like they need to defend themselves by falling into the trap of the flat-brain tango, and begins to also say things without listening beneath the original complaint. Peterson uses the courtroom as an example of how we act toward each other in an accusatory manner that is judgmental and keeps people from working together. Peterson provides readers with examples of how to get out of situations such as the flat-brain tango with the double-reverse-twist. This suggests that we pause and assess what has just happened, and respond to the flat-brain person by restating what they said in an attempt to understand them, work together, and avoid an argument that will end unproductive. The talker-listener process helps to un-flatten brains, and make information sharing clearer, build empathy, trust, and cooperation. Peterson suggests using a talker listener card (TLC) to keep communicators in their roles. One side is the talker with their list of dos and donts and on the other is the listener with a list of dos and donts as well. The TLC keeps communicators from reverting back to their old habits of talking and not listening. The TLC will allow the talker to be heard and understood by the listener; when the talker is finished the card will turn allowing the talker and listener to take turns talking and listening. In conclusion, Peterson encourages readers to begin using the new listening skills learned and to avoid defending ourselves, because that is what initiates the flat-brain tango. Peterson also provides listening techniques to foster nutrients in our relationships with others and provide additional support in special circumstances that we are uncomfortable in.