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Why Listening Through Filters Stops Us Hearing Each Other Or Being Heard

If other people can’t hear you. or misunderstand what you’re saying, it’s because they’re listening through the powerful filters of their own needs.

We all listen through filters. We don’t know we’re doing it, but we hear one another through the powerful filters of our own basic needs.

Marshall Rosenberg who worked worldwide as a peacemaker before founding the Center for Nonviolent Communication.lists 9 fundamental human needs. Think of these as 9 basic filters through which you’re being heard.

Affection      Creation       Recreation

Freedom     Identity      Understanding

Participation     Protection     Subsistence

If you’re a more visual person, it may be helpful for you to imagine these filters like the tinted shades of sunglasses, which distort what you see and make grey skies appear orange, pink or blue, depending on the sunglasses you are wearing.

When you communicate something simple to a colleague, such as ‘I’ll be leaving work early today,’ they could hear it in one of many different ways, depending on what motivates them.

If they’re listening  through ‘understanding’ they could hear that you’re leaving early as a cue that you are experiencing problems at home (even though you didn’t mention this.)

If their filter is ‘creation’, they may intuit that you need to quit work for a class or workshop (even though you didn’t say anything about this.)

If they’re driven by ‘identity,’ they may assume you are telling them of your early departure as a way of flexing your seniority (even though you didn’t discuss this either.)

To read the piece I wrote about How To Get Heard for Forbes, Please CLICK HERE

Remy Blumenfeld is a creative life coach living in London. He empowers leaders to play the game of life with purpose, grace and ease. Before training as coach, he launched a TV Production company which created  dozens of ground breaking, TV shows.

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