I often have people say to me that no one in their lives listens to them like I listen to them. Whilst I could potentially feel good about this, it usually makes me feel sad because it highlights to me that people in their lives do not often feel really listened to. I’m not sure what your thoughts are but it I certainly think that this is the result of our busyness in life generally, and sometimes our lack of awareness of what a difference being a good listener makes to others.
I would like to suggest that when someone feels like they are being really listened to it:
• engenders feelings of being respected and valued
• gives them permission to keep talking
• enables them hear their own thoughts out loud – which often gives them insights and ideas that they wouldn’t ordinarily get
• creates more empathy, trust, rapport and connection in relationships
Please reread this list through and I challenge you not to feel excited about the idea of being a better listener.
Whilst our programs are entitled Better Questions those people that have attended our training or read our books know that we emphasise the skill of listening just as much as questioning – indeed we stress that if you aren’t listening there is no point in trying to be a Better Questioner. So what does it mean to be a good listener?
I actually think that it isn’t that difficult IF we make a conscious choice to be a listener. I know myself that if I make a decision to truly listen I am able to switch on my best level of listening that I can – try it and see what happens to you. I believe that most of us are absolutely capable of it; it’s just that we don’t make that choice to do it. Once we do make the choice the other person seems to be able to intuitively sense that this is the case and magically you start to get the wonderful positive outcomes that I have highlighted above.
In a workshop that I ran this week after the practice session one lady commented that she felt really special as a result of the questioner actually demonstrating to her that they were truly interested in her by the way that they chose to listen. In fact she got a teary as she shared this, as she was aware that it was a rare occasion for this to happen in her life and she was very mindful of how powerful it felt to be the beneficiary of this level of listening.
So my hope from reading this blog is that you start to choose to be a better listener on as many occasions as you can. I accept that sometimes it is challenging to do – after all we are all human, but if you chose to do it on 10% more occasions that you do now imagine what a positive difference this would make in the lives of others. Happy listening!