Listening Without Agenda or Expectation
Gabor suggests that the best way to improve communication is what he calls “Agendaless Listening.”
How often do we “tune out” part way through what someone is saying, so that we can begin to form our own response? How often do we try discussing an important topic, and feel that we aren’t being heard? Both of these are different types of “agendas” that get in the way of listening to another person.
With Agendaless Listening, we simply listen. Without judgment, without feeling defensive, without anger. We open our minds and our hearts. We do our best to discard any previous judgments or notions about what the other person might be “trying to do.” We simply, as Gabor puts it, “let them download whatever is on their mind” so that we can hear them and hopefully understand their perspective.
This doesn’t mean we have to agree with their perspective. But we can listen, hear their view, and do our best to understand what and how they are thinking. And perhaps we hear something we didn’t hear before. Or else, we understand why they believe what they do.