Listening to, for, with and on behalf of ….
Listening is a skill. You need to practice a skill if you hope to improve it. That was the premise behind the POWER listening webinar I delivered yesterday.
http://pulseinstitute.adobeconnect.com/p97u0vgopq7/ You can watch the unedited version by following the link.
Listening is so important as one of the main ways that we gather information from our world. We use all of our senses for sure. In listening though we seem to be part of all of the aspects. What I mean is that we are sender, medium and receiver. What we pay attention to while we are listening changes the other person’s story even when we are silent. they are watching for our responses and it will help them decide what to say next. When we receive a message we filter it through our own static. Quieting that static is a large part of the skill of listening deeply.
There are different ways to listening. You can listen to something. You can listen for something which is more deliberate and can be very effective in promoting good conversation. You can listen on behalf of someone else which is often what a mediator does as they help parties build understanding. You can also listen with others. Doing that is what I call deep listening. If you are with a group and listening together it is wonderful to share and hear their interpretation. Nothing demonstrates how we use our filters like a group listen.
In the webinar I talk about listening with HEART which is the more passive skill of giving others a space to speak into, one that is safe and caring. then I talk about POWER listening which is more about providing evidence of listening. i think both are necessary. If you listen politely and never provide evidence of what you hear the other person will not have the same sense of freedom from having been hear, acknowledged and understood.
Some days it is easier to listen than others. Distractions are everywhere in our world and they are the enemy of good listening. Listening intently and with purpose requires that we use our listening muscles to cut through the distraction and focus our attention on what is being said … and not said. Listening occurs with eyes and ears and body and it takes practice.
What kind of listening workout do you have planned today?