How is your listening?
Do you try fix others or give unsolicited advice, when they probably just want you to listen?
Do you maintain eye contact, connection & listen with genuine interest & curiosity?
Would others say you seem preoccupied, distracted, or self-absorbed when they are speaking?
I used to be that guy. Seemingly, always preoccupied thinking about the next thing, distracted by something on my phone or in the surrounding environment. If I was more focused in conversation, I repeatedly got feedback from my buddies that I was “talking over them” and that my “trying to be ‘helpful’ and fix her” was not what she wanted. One female friend actually grabbed my face and helped pivot my wandering attention into better focus as I was listening to her—she did so lovingly and it really made an impact. After enough feedback around listening, I started observing great listeners to discover their secrets in how they were so available and present in conversation.
Listening is a crucial part of our ability to communicate and thrive in relationships and at work. It affects how well we understand, acknowledge and appreciate others as we create, maintain and deepen relationships as well as the way we engage, correspond, sell, inspire, instruct and manage in the workplace. Better listening enhances communication, understanding and appreciation of others. The masterful listeners listen from a depth of presence and openness that allows speakers to feel heard, understood, appreciated, seen for who they are & freer to express a greater range of themselves.
5 LISTENING BARRIERS
– DISTRACTED: attention preoccupied elsewhere “he’s so fidgety, can’t sit still or is always looking around when I trying to talk to him”
– MULTI-TASKING: partial listening while splitting attention on 2 or more things “she is always on her phone”
– ADVICE or FIXING: “every time I bring something up he tries to problem solve or fix me…I just want him to listen”
– SELF-ABSORPTION: anxiously waiting for my turn to talk, thinking of what I want to say, interrupting, or talking over “all she does is talk about herself”
– EMOTIONALLY TRIGGERED: emotions create static, prioritize attention on our inner experience, so we’re unavailable to hear others (this either looks like shutting down & getting quiet or
5 KEYS to LISTENING
1 BODY RELAXATION: becoming more grounded & relaxed in our body allows us to quiet mental & emotional static so we can become more empty & available to listen & receive someone else’s experience 2 WITHOUT AGENDA: listening without defensiveness, judgment, hidden motives, giving advice, trying to fix, or to “get something” allows the speaker to feel safer to express more of themselves
3 CURIOSITY: venturing out beyond our own self-absorption self with desire to connect & genuine curiosity to know someone more deeply
4 ATTUNEMENT: attunement with another person’s system allows resonant rapport & connection so that multi-channel information can be sensed & received thru words, sensations, emotions, body language & tonality
5 DEPTH & OPENNESS: listening from deeper presence allows the moment to unfold & something new to emerge, drawing out deeper authenticity, insight, underlying beliefs, intentions, emotions, vulnerability & connection; deeper listening occurs from deeply relaxed, spacious & open presence attuned to everything arising in the moment