Some days I wish I had huge bahonkin’ jagundo ears so I could hear not only someone’s words, but right down into the whispers of their heart. As a life coach, one of my most critical skills is to ask good questions and then shut up and LISTEN. Listen with intentionality; listen carefully to the words spoken, and the words unspoken. Listen for the unspoken frustrations, hopes and dreams of the woman with whom I’m speaking. Listen to understand.
Listening isn’t anything new, but it’s as crucial and timely as your last breath. In fact, in some sense, you can hear the whispers of another’s heart when you give them your undivided, 100% attention. The kind of “you are so there” concentration that goes beyond hearing sounds and syllables and dives deep into the depths of silences, body language, facial expressions and intonations… taking time to perceive their emotions.
Listening is a priceless gift you have the ability to give another human being. The next time you engage in a conversation with someone, do this:
- Lay aside whatever you were doing – this means work, the task at hand, and ESPECIALLY that smart phone!!! Turn off the TV off and turn the tablet screen face down.
- Make direct eye contact as the person is talking with you.
- Lean into them just a bit, so you are taking an active listening position, as if you were hanging onto their every word – because you are doing just that!
- Concentrate on their message. Do not be preparing your answer in your head, or coming up with a fix to their problem. Just listen.
- Finally, be sure they have completed their full sentence/comment before you answer. No stepping on the end of their sentences or butting into the middle and interrupting their stream of words.
Was it difficult? What was the hardest thing about it for you? What results did you achieve? Did it draw them out? Please do share in the comments, as we want to HEAR all about it! It will get easier each time you practice it. And in this day and age of constant noise bombarding you from every possible angle, offering this pure sense of unadulterated “you have my full attention” time is a treasure.
Think about it – how do you feel when someone has taken the time/energy to put aside all else simply to hear what you have to say?
Yeah, like that… now go bless someone else the same way today!