3 Oct 2015 | John Stamoulos.

What people really need is a good listening to …T.S. Eliot

Try to remember a time when you were called to listen to someone. Maybe it was a friend, or a client who needed your ear.  How did you respond and how did you listen to them?  What effect did your listening have on them? On you?

Listening is more than just hearing. When you open your heart and deeply listen to yourself, your body, others and the world around you, that attention and consideration is the key to effective communication and can lead to discovery, healing and clarity.

When you deeply listen, you:

  • gain new understanding of a situation.
  • learn to respect that everyone has his/her reality and truth.
  • can become a better student and learner.
  • help solve problems (others’ and your own).
  • create authentic connection and build trust (the best listeners are the ones you can tell your secrets to).
  • develop insightful interactive communication skills.

Be A Good Listener:

– be present and give 100% attention using all senses – ears, eyes, heart, and intuition;

– be patient, impartial and maintain an open mind;

– be aware of the verbal and non-verbal messages in what is being said;

– notice inconsistencies in a story or body language that contradicts the talk;

– ask clarifying questions and be interested and engaged;

– refrain from giving feedback, ( I think … you should);

– allow the speaker to find his/her own answers.

Steps to Effective Listening :

  • Relax and be fully focused in present time.
  • Let go of distracting thoughts (what am I doing next; is it going to rain?).
  • Encourage the speaker’s ease with interactive words and gestures.
  • Maintain eye contact but don’t react or stare.
  • The speaker is reading you and your reactions. Avoid destructive actions (shuffling paper, looking out the window, examining your fingernails) that can be interpreted as boredom or disinterest.
  • Be empathetic about his/her issues. Open to seeing things from their perspective.

Practice your Listening Skills

Look for an opportunity (at work, home, with friends, with clients) to practice listening by following the Steps to Effective Listening. Notice the results. How is it different from any previous conversation you might have had with this person?

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