Quite frequently when a companion is talking, rather than carefully listening, we are composing our response to them. This is a very human tendency. But it is a bit dishonest, pretending to listen while actually composing. True deep and honest listening to another person is a rare and valued talent.
There is an underlying fear that if we are focused on what the other is saying, then when they’ve completed their statements, we’ll not have anything to say. But this turns out not to be true. It’s amazing how when it comes our turn to speak, if we were deeply listening to our companion, uncannily appropriate responses occur almost immediately.
How many times have we heard from another that they just want to be heard? How many times have we rued that no one is hearing us? I’ve found that when someone is upset about something all I need to do is listen to them and not try to fix the problem. Often I’ll be sincerely thanked by the other even though I didn’t do anything except listen to their issues. Sometimes that’s all that is actually needed.
People love others who truly listen to them. If you want people to like you, I don’t know of a more effective method than just simply being a good listener. In your profession or business being able to deeply listen will make you much more effective. It is also almost mandatory for effective conflict resolution; as being able to clearly hear both sides is essential for finding an effective solution
Deep listening is a skill that needs to be practiced. The more you do it the better you’ll get. It is useful to contemplate on prior communications and honestly identify when you were listening and when you were not and think about how to improve. Contemplative practice itself can help to develop this skill by practicing listening to yourself deeply and nonjudgmentally.
If we listen we can learn from the other. When we’re talking we learn nothing. So, deep listening has the added benefit of learning new things.
Let’s be honest and listen to others deeply and clearly.