Published by: HCI Books (25th April 2016)
Have you ever talked to a dog. Not just the "Who's a good boy? Spike's a good boy" stuff, but really talked? About your struggles, your heartaches, your joys—baring your soul to a canine friend? If you have, chances are it made you feel free to say whatever you wanted, without the burden of justifying your position, sounding witty, or telling an entertaining story. Free to take your time, without fear of judgment or recrimination. Even if you can't have a real discussion, when compared to conversations with humans you'd probably admit that dogs are the better communicators—paws down. Why? Because even though they don't speak our language, they really listen.
It's time to take a fresh look at listening and we need go no further than the furry best friend at our feet. Dogs don't interrupt us, finish our sentences, offer advice, try to top our stories, or text us instead of talking to us. Dogs pay extremely close attention to us; they study our facial expressions, our body language, our eye movements, and our voice patterns. Dogs do not just listen with their ears, they listen with their entire being.
True listening can enhance every relationship in one's life, and can transform broken associations and inject new life into business and social interactions. It is the magic ingredient that forges real connections with others. People want good listeners in their inner circle, they want do business with them, they trust them and will share critical information with them. That means the person who masters this skill has enormous advantages, both in business and in his or her personal life. By listening like a dog, readers will find renewed connection and a deeper sense of compassion, companionship and understanding with the people in their lives.
This is a fascinating look at how to be better at listening, by doing it the way of man's best friend. I'm a dog owner, and yes, I talk to my dogs every day. After reading Listen Like A Dog, I've come to the conclusion that I don't give Tilly & Alfie enough credit for the way they listen to me. I've been taking more notice of their actions and trying to see things from their perspective, although I've found that really difficult! They always seem to know, almost before I do, when they're going for a walk or if I'm daring to leave the house without them - to be fair, my hubby gets this more than me as he tends to be the one who takes them out - even if I haven't done anything to indicate this.
The techniques detailed in this book seem simple, yet appear to be very effective. They are also completely alien to most humans. I've spent a great deal of time trying to listen like a dog over the past few weeks, and it's no mean feat. The hardest thing is learning to shut my mouth and open my ears! I found the urge to interrupt people the hardest thing to suppress, as I tend to do this due to my poor memory. But, I seem to have cracked it! Instead of interrupting, I write down important things to remember, and try really hard to devote all my attention to the person speaking. I just listen, and don't give advice unless it's specifically asked for. I feel kind of virtuous, even though whoever I'm listening to probably has no idea of my efforts, but that's fine - it makes me feel better. I have to remind myself every time someone speaks to me, but I'm getting better at remembering.
I'm a huge fan of Jeff Lazarus's Dogtology and Listen Like a Dog is just as compelling. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with in his next book. Meanwhile, I'll be continuing to use the techniques detailed here in order to listen almost as well as my gorgeous dogs.
Special thanks to author Jeff Lazarus, HCI Books and Netgalley for providing a review copy.