Ordinarily, people tend to ask questions with a certain goal or purpose in mind. They then listen to the answer as if the answer is based on the question they intended to ask. Yet the other answers based on what he or she understood the question to mean. Observational listening trains the listener to let go of his or her own goals and intentions and concentrate on the reactions evoked. In other words, the listener tries to find out what the question meant to the other. In this way, the listener will “get it”, and be able to bring depth into the conversation in a natural way, without resorting to tricks.
It means that the listener observes the reactions of his or her conversational partner during the conversation. And to be able to correctly ‘read’ these responses and judge their value, it helps to know a little more about emotions. In fact, the way to becoming an excellent communicator is to understand emotion and how it translates into behaviour. This is why the book Observational Listening goes deeply into the subject of emotions and how great their effect is on what we do or don’t do. This is also what makes it unique: It provides the missing link between emotion and communication.
- Van Alphen, M.F. (2016). Observational Listening – The (Missing) Link between Emotion and Communication. Bloomington: Authorhouse UK.
- Dutch book on Observational Listening: Van Alphen, M.F. (2015). Psychosociale gespreksvoering – observatief luisteren in de hulpverlening. Amsterdam: Boom.