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James Petersen divided his work in parts to basically illustrate the processes that are involved when two or more people are in communication .The book is basically aimed at helping people have a better understanding of the whole communication process using his book titled ' Why don't we listen better? Communicating and connecting in relationships'. Petersen starts by creating some sort of a theory in regard to emotions. He attempts to explain how our minds work and all the operations that go on in the human minds in order for them to do the way they do especially during communication. Petersen attempts to explain the interplay between feeling and emotions during communication. He goes a head to talk about some of the actions we normally engage in which can be expressed through his flat brain theory. He makes use of illustrations in a bid to get his points home.
Petersen in the book, he makes use of a card to get his ideas understood in as far as better communication is concerned. The card system is basically meant for helping us to master the art of listening and taking turns to talk in order to avoid confusion. He encourages people to always take some time to keenly listen before opening their moths to talk or comment. In the third part of this book, Petersen came up with some simple and basic strategies that people can use to listen, he gave an array of options so that people can try them out and find out which one of them works best for them. Many examples are given which people are urged to attempt and try using and find out those that suit them during talking and listening.
According to Petersen, there are two levels of information processing during communication .The first one being the level of information exchange and the second one being deeper expression of our true feeling of trust and expressing that spirit effectively. In his final stage he basically put it all together through examples on how one can use the listening and talking process effectively. He makes it simple by providing examples of how one can effectively use his theory of 'Flat Brained Syndrome' to basically overcome problems and issues or even fellow human beings who have that said syndrome. Towards the end he comes up with scenarios of good people and how good things happen to them courtesy of the fact that they are effective communicators.
Communication is a very important and necessary aspect or part of the human life and experiences. An attempt and effort to improve ones communication skills is something worthwhile. Petersen went a head to shares some of his personal experiences which he had in his attempts to become a better listener. He opens up and his honesty is seen when he exposes some of the short comings and flows he made in an attempt to master this crucial skill -listening. By so doing, Petersen gives his readers comfort and hope that there is always room for improvement in case one has a problem with communication so long as they become concerned and have the urge to learn and perfect. Petersen, in his endeavor to train and help his reader on how to overcome problems in communication, he uses real life examples and experiences to drive his points home. The example he uses ,provide the reader with steps and procedures that can be very helpful when it comes to mastering the art of listening.
In his concept, when one improves his or her listening ability or skills, he or she automatically gains an improvement in matters relationships .The whole concept of flat brain syndrome some how very interesting and rewarding. Petersen creatively explained communication in terms of head, heart and stomach and that in many ways gives the reader some sort of a vivid picture which they easily relate to .He further goes a head to point out that to have an in-depth and good understanding of the relationships between various related components during communication helps greatly in reducing conflicts. He use the analogy of head heart and stomach to explain by claiming that the stomach is basically where human feelings are kept ,the heart is where human interactions occur and finally the head is where logic is and apparently responsible for information processing.
I have personal connection with this book in many instances and indeed I can relate to what Petersen is talking about .This book is very critical and relevant to me in the sense that it triggered lots of experiences in my memory. When I read the book quite a number of videos of past memories begin to roll. When I am reading through the text I vividly begun remembering my days when I was in kindergarten and I never wanted to listen to anybody all I wanted to do was to be listened to and attention being paid to no one else but me. As a young kind, I never knew how necessary it was to keenly listen first before talking. At times even before the teacher had finished asking a question ,I would interject and supply an answer which in most cases was never correct .This was due to poor listening skills and lacking patience.
A lot of memories of the days when I had poor communication skills came on my mind during my internal conversation during the story. I kept on getting vivid images throughout while reading through this work. For instance when Petersen (2007) in a metaphorical way, compared the person listening to someone providing assistance during childbirth and asks open questions to enlarge and increase the length of the conversation. In doing so the person doing the midwifery helps the one speaking to take full charge and responsibility through providing own solutions by asking questions. This is a common problem of people wanting to generate solutions to problems rather than simply listening. For instance when one is trying to understand themselves ,some of the most common questions that they need to ask themselves should be arrived at by keenly listening to their inner voices other than just coming up with ideas that they want fulfilled.
Quite a number of questions and breath taking moment did pop up after reading the book and listening to some of Dr. Petersen's comments. However, what bothers me about this book is that Petersen insists on people asking more questions but how about people who are irritants by nature and easily get pissed off with those who ask endless questions? I tend to think some people just don't like being asked questions. That notwithstanding, I am reticent to accept that indeed Petersen has a way of tapping into just about everyone and anyone who reads his book. Personally, I found his book necessary and helpful especially the place where he talks about ways of listening better while in relationships with significant other, say a spouse for instance. Am saying this because am planning to get into a relationship, I have been single for awhile and I found the material very helpful to me in as far as developing my listening skills and being an understanding mate. There are so many other parts of the book that I found relevant for instance when he talks about doing joint decision making, I draw a lot of inspiration and Ideas on how to handle matters to do with decision making. Some of the very important points I managed to pick from the book that pertain proper handling of situations to avoid miscommunication include better skills in negotiation and sharing. It was so refreshing to read such profound ideas and openness concerning his own weakness.
It's understandable that listening is a vital aspect in helping someone to evolve and develop to grater heights especially when dealing with others. The book is such an eye opener if you ask me particularly to those interested in matters to do with counseling. The concept of the card was very creative and out-of-the-box kind of thinking which I found very relevant. There were many other excellent example for instance that concerning talking stick and how Americans communicated while in groups to a void one being misunderstood, which shows that Peterson effortlessly captures a readers attention.
The information in this book was an eye opener to me and I intend to do a lot using it in my life. For any change to take place it's said that action has to be taken .I intend to incorporate some of the techniques I have learnt from the book to improve my way of relating with people. If I make enough money I might consider putting up a counseling unit where people are encouraged and given basic skills to help them through life. Applying exactly the skills that the book talks about could be my biggest problem but I tend to believe that God can inspire me to over come my shortcomings like lack of capacity and the passion for engaging in philanthropy and eventually pull through. One of the most interesting and memorable method or tool from the book is the finger method( Petersen,J.2007).This is whereby one uses their finger to point at their head to help them think and remember, then pointing their eyes in a bid to see clearly and to their stomach for the sake of feeling.
The card can be made use of as a reflective material or tool for handling issues that regard communication. To help me talk effectively and help me share personal problems I think it will be necessary to use most of the ideas from this book. When it comes to matters like listening I intend to focus on being patient with others.Onother thing that I noted from the book is asking as many questions as possible for the sake of better understanding .Its necessary to ask questions for the sake of clarification in order to get what they are actually saying without necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with them. I will also attempt not to be biased or take sides to make them feel comfortable while am handling their problems.
In my endeavors to help others through their problems I will not try too hard to figure out solutions for them so much, I will instead listen and take my time to have a deeper understand of their feelings. I will also attempt to use the method of double reverse twist which I believe will help me to be in apposition to communicate without necessarily allowing other persons flatbrain problem syndrome from getting to me. After reading this book, I had to appreciate the fact that for communication to be complete the message has to reach the recepint who has to respond hence making the whole process complete otherwise him or her not sending a feed back,it can never be considered that any kind of communication took place.
Reading this book has greatly helped me and I think Petersen is a very intelligent character and therefore making it easy for anyone to read him. It's a book I can't hesitate to recommend to a friend. From the book I realize that listening is a very important skill in communication but unfortunately very few people listen. Majority of us don't take time to listen, we are always quick to comment even on matters we don't have a clear understanding on. Talking without listening is believed human nature but mastering the art of listening can be of great help to anyone who intends to perfect their communication skills.