Who was the last person who actually listened to you?
Who was the last person you actually gave your full attention to?
I know what you’re thinking. YOU listen all the time.
But do you really?
Do we understand what it really means to listen? Do we comprehend what is the Heart of listening?
Do we realize that every person we will meet has something to teach us? Perhaps our job is to listen long enough to find out what that lesson is.
Isn’t it true that when people speak to us, we tend to jump right in and give our advice, our feedback and our judgment? And all too often we find ourselves fixing, lecturing or interrupting with way too many questions. We listen not as an act of curiosity, but rather for a chance to give clever responses.
We are all guilty of this because we are all human.
In order to reap the benefits of listening, we must let ourselves develop and expand our ability to concentrate and pay attention.
Listening with Heart is a skill – A skill that can be taught and can be learned, but most definitely must be developed.
The Heart of listening consists of:
- Listening with heart is to summarize your understanding of what was just said.
- Listening with heart is reframing what you have just heard.
- Listening with heart is not a passive skill, but an active art.
- Listening from the heart is letting others know you understand what they said.
- Listening from the heart assures others that you are really listening with your whole body; eyes, ears and all.
When listening, remember that it’s not about YOU, but about THEM.
If we are going to expand our KNOWLEDGE, we need to listen.
If we are going to be SUPPORTIVE, we need to listen.
If we are going to be RESPECTFUL, we need to listen.
If we are going to be COMPASSIONATE, we need to listen.
If we are going to illustrate EMPATHY, we need to listen.
Listening is the sincerest form of flattery and shows the deepest form of connection.
In order to live a life of leadership and meaningful connection, we have to consciously choose to slow down, give up our own agenda, and develop the capacity to focus on others by making an effort to fully understand them.
Socrates states, “Nature has given us two ears, two eyes and but one tongue to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak.”
We need to cultivate Heart about the ways WE listen.
We need to simply give our undivided attention to another without imposing our own personal agenda.
Sometimes, this might take a little practice.
It is a generous act of giving when we allow someone the space to be exactly who they are and exactly who they are not. This takes the ability to authentically listen with Heart.
In organizations, poor listening is responsible for the loss of billions of dollars due to unnecessary mistakes, lost opportunities, ineffectiveness and deficiencies.
In relationships, poor listening is responsible for disconnectedness from our families, loved ones, friends and customers. It is the cause of breakdowns and break ups.
If we could hear our words, our comments, and our feedback through the ears of our listeners, we might be horrified with our insensitivity and negativity.
The Heart of listening requires focus and a desire to learn and gain perspective. It takes effort to realize our inner barriers we have built towards others, which we must learn to put aside.
By listening with an open Heart, it is love in action. By listening with mindfulness, it is the way for making every interaction become memorable.
Lead from within: The Heart of listening is a gift to yourself and others. everyone you meet can impact and change your life.