1-Sentence-Summary: I Hear You explores the idea of becoming a better listener, engaging in productive conversations and avoiding building up frustrations by taking charge of your communication patterns and improving them in your further dialogues.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Humans are social animals, and there is no doubt in that. We rely on our social interactions to survive and live healthy, balanced lives. However, the way we communicate and integrate ourselves in a society can determine our present and our future. If we have good relationships, we are happy, and if we don’t, we feel miserable.
Moreover, our relationships with other people, or the network we have, determine our career and financial situations. Therefore, learning how to master your communication skills is a must in today’s world. I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen will help you learn how to create more meaningful connections, become a better listener for your friends and family, and thrive in your personal life.
Here are my three favorite lessons from the book:
- Empathy is at the core of any good listener.
- Acknowledge the other person’s opinion and avoid having a tunnel vision when speaking to them.
- Learn to validate the other person’s emotions instead of offering advice.
Now, we should dig a little bit deeper into these lessons and extract the most useful insights to understand them better. Let’s start!
Lesson 1: It all starts with being more empathic towards our interlocutor
A good dialogue consists of someone who listens and someone who shares, while both of them take turns. When it comes to talking and sharing our views, the majority of us are doing a good job. Some of us have a problem expressing our thoughts, while some have troubles with oversharing and forgetting how to listen. Therefore, the first step towards initiating meaningful conversations is learning how to listen to the other person.
To do so, you must turn to empathy. Explore your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and actively engage in their story when they share it with you. However, be careful not to mirror your emotions on them, nor adopt the victim mentality right away. For example, if someone comes angrily towards us, ready to initiate a conflict, chances are we’ll become defensive and meet them with anger as well, trying to protect our point of view.
Instead, try to meet that person with calmness and understand their point of view. Instead of thinking you are the victim of an unfair situation, think about why that person feels the way they do. Acknowledge their frustration and actively look for solutions together. In other words, be empathic towards them. This will make them feel understood and reduce the tension in your dialogue, therefore leading to a productive and frustration-free encounter.
Lesson 2: During any conflict, it’s important to acknowledge that our perspective is not the absolute truth
Conflicts are a natural part of life, and everybody will get to experience them during their lifetime. Conflicts serve as life lessons, as ways of learning how to listen and tame frustrations, and most importantly, as a way of building our relationships with those around us. Both healthy and toxic relationships experience conflicts, but the way we respond to them is what will ultimately make the difference.
Therefore, during a conflict, it’s important to recognize the other person’s point of view by acknowledging it to their face. When expressing yours, make sure to have them listen to it and acknowledge it as well. Then, focus on your perspective. It’s hard to think of your point of view as being wrong, because we always consider it as an objective truth. Moreover, the bigger the gap between you and your interlocutor’s point of view, the more difficult it gets to respect their opinion.
Although hard, you must take charge of the conflict in a mature way. This implies making the other person the narrator of the story. Ask them questions to find out more about their perspective, and who knows? Maybe you’ll find common points of view and shared values.
Lesson 3: Sometimes it’s best to simply acknowledge and validate how the other person feels, without giving advice
When someone comes to you sharing their struggles, it can be challenging to find a way to respond without feeling like you interfere with their story or step into their personal space. For this reason, the best way to deal with these situations is to simply acknowledge their pain.
After you’ve understood what their issue is, validate it. You can do so using body gestures like nodding or adding short comments, such as: “really?” “No way!” or “seriously?”. Once the person takes a short break from their narrative, identify the unsaid emotions. Offer justification for them, for the way they feel. However, make sure not to offer them advice, unless they ask for it. Sometimes doing so can feel intrusive for the other person.
Validate their emotions even if you disagree with them. If you’re unsure what the other person is feeling, you can always ask them. This will help them feel acknowledged. If you understand what they’re going through, let them know you can relate. Lastly, lead the conversation with “I”, instead of “you”, to let them know you’re sharing your take on the matter.
The I Hear You Review
I Hear You is a remarkable piece of writing that delves into the subject of emotions, empathy, acknowledging the others that are next to us, and most importantly, learning how to listen to them. This book will teach its readers how to engage in conversations that are productive and meaningful, without adding on to already existing frustrations. Moreover, it will help you lead a conversation the right way, validate your interlocutor, and avoid conflict using the right methods.
Who would I recommend the I Hear You summary to?
The 27-year-old person that wants to learn how to avoid conflicts and be more empathic in their romantic relationship, the 40-year-old leader who wants to learn how to listen to their team better and avoid conflicts at work, or the 30-year-old person who wants to improve their social skills and relationships overall.
Last Updated on May 19, 2023