Peterson Book Review: Why Don’t We Listen Better?

October 23, 2018 Communication

Summary of Book Jim Peterson’s book outlines a very informative and simplistic way to becoming a better listener. Peterson has come up with the idea of sharing a card that allows the talker and the listener to take turns sharing their ideas. He stated three part on how people communicate: stomach, heart, and head. First is the stomach which consist of the feelings and emotions those inner nudges that let us know when we are uncomfortable, happy, excited, interested, attracted, irritable, angry, resentful, frustrated, curious, and any other feelings that humans have.

The Second is the heart which when operating properly gives and receives concern, suggestions, support, and also consider possibilities. The third is the head which process the thinking and logical functions (Peterson, 11). Peterson summed it all up by combining the three together to develop the “flat brain” syndrome, he showed that when the stomach is full of different emotions it swells and pushes the heart that makes the brain go flat. This is a way of someone getting out everything they feel at that moment and then return back to their normal state of mind.

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Jim Peterson allow the reader to explore there the art of what listening really is and that it is more than hearing. The roles being the listener and the talker help the communication process to be effective and avoid the flat brain tango (Peterson, 33). Peterson speaks about the talker, which is the one that open up and begin to take ownership of the problem first and foremost (Peterson, 70). The problem is the talkers they will be the one to solve it, by achieving two goals by first sharing their thoughts and feelings (Peterson, 77-80).

With the talker taking ownership and then sharing their feelings they can find a way to accomplish this without attacking, accusing, labeling, or judging. Being that the problem is not someone else’s fault it is the talker feelings and emotions that are not dictated by some other than yourself (Peterson, 89-91). Peterson then put the lenses and focus on the most crucial part that is to be played and that is the listener role. The role of the listener is to take ownership of not being the problem and not being the person to solve it.

Peterson outlines listening techniques about the art of listening and the improvements that are to be made in this area. The first is providing a safe place for the talker to share his/her feelings. The second is to fully understand the talker. The third is the art of clarifying the problem for the talker (Peterson, 92-101). In conclusion Peterson describes different situations of listening that would be more specialized for an example a suicide situation (Peterson, 176). Also discussing applying the techniques in a group setting, and how to use it in the moderation of two others in conversation.

The concept of good listening and talking skills to create effective communication is something that was created and broken down by Peterson. My Reflections While reading this book and really getting to know the art of talking and listening, it opened my eyes to look at myself, I like to win conversations and I listen very little. I realized this when I was a teenager, and my family use to tell me to just accept constructive criticism and be open for change. But I would always have to say something because I was afraid to accept the truth and did not want anyone to tell me what to do.

But I really paid more attention to it when I and my best friend began to have conversations about simple things and it would turn into a debate which took a lot of energy. I found that it I keep letting this occur I would eventually lose my friendship. Another situation occurred with my child father, we were having trouble in our relationship and I began to put a guard up because I felt as if I was not being heard the way I want to be heard. But then one day we began to argue and I said some many hurtful things that I had stored inside for my previous relationship and I took it all out on him.

When I came back to my correct way of thinking I knew that I said something that were hurtful and just plain mean, causing our relationship to go downhill. As I sit and think about it now I realized that I was my cry for help I wanted to be heard but I didn’t know how to say it. Now being a Christian and really hearing the word of God made me realize that when you are trying to hurt someone the problem is not them it is with you, we spend some much time looking at what others are doing because we are afraid of looking at our self and changing.

I have discovered when reading this book that I hear more and listen less without responding to what I am listening for I respond to what I hear. I have realized that examining myself in different situations help a lot because you are less judgmental and is open to listen, and perception of the situation will change causing you to be able to get along with individuals and making communication better. My Reflection The most helpful and insightful parts of this book was the “flat brain” syndrome and the “flat brain tango”.

After reading this book I have gained some insight on how to make a change within my communication because without change I would run some many people out of my life because of my debating actions and not being able to listen. Peterson outlines how one think and reacts to determine how someone can relate to the world that is around them and the world they create. Taking a look at myself allows me to stop being a victim of the tango. Also to stop being interested in my own point of view a really considering the other person side. Another way I have found to be helpful when it comes to listening more is to listening within.

The Holy Spirit lives within you and speaks daily and in order for you to get in the will of God you have to be open to his voice and guidance. So listening to the Holy Spirit will help in everyday communication. Also the use of the talker/ listener card (TLC) will help keep your focus balanced when developing and completing a self- assessment. The TLC also helps in the talker and listener roles that are being played so the individual can become a better and more effective talker, and the listener can become a better listener with more effective responses.

Being able to refer back to Christ and how he is a wonderful listener and he allow us to expression our greatest and smallest concerns and emotions to him which gives us a grace to do people among us the same way. I will commit myself to listening more and talking less, being open for the opinions that are being stated. I can get tangled up in the idea that my thoughts are better or more important than those that I listen to. As Peterson stated a person should listen longer and then respond.

I will agree with Peterson when he stated about the ritual listener and I realized that I am that, I only hear what I want to hear and gather enough information so I can hurry and respond to get my point across. My personality blend that most people see is D- Dominant. , D-look busy, in a hurry, and decisive. I act serious with minimal small-talk. I may come across as shy, but can become very impatient and fidgety if nothing seems to be happening. I sometimes want take charge and act important.

Others are often threatened or irritated by me, but need to work with me, not against me. Often feeling that I am the boss and in control of the situation. I have found that a lot of individuals come to me for my advice and I have realized that I have some times come across as insensitive and emotionless. I will use the skills that Peterson outlined throughout the book to become a better listener. I will practice ideas and work on incorporating them in my life and proceed on to others. Being a good listener can start by being able to repeat accurately what someone else is saying.

I am going to incorporate this more in my life because I have been known to hear what someone is saying but in my mind I am changing it to how I want it to sound. Peterson has helped me realize that people need to bounce off of others ideas. Most people can solve their own problems by just looking at the situation and their reactions. Also another idea is to be softer toned and direct with my words. I am very outspoken and at times I do say things but be thinking something the total opposite and end up displaying the wrong message to individuals.

The Holy Spirit, my mom, Apostle, and prophetess have helped my through my life changing process. I have learned to listen more because things are not always going to be the way we want them to be but it humbling myself and being open to others ideas will help me in every situation in my life. I am thankful to be able to go through this process because when I am helping someone else in counseling I will be able to reflect back on my experiences and the changes I had to make to become a better talker and listener.


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