Please Just Listen

Please Just Listen

As I look around in our modern ever fast paced world, I wonder whether people still listen.

Of course, we hear each other, yet what about the act of listening. Listening to understand, listening to show empathy, listening to connect.

Now I am not saying it is easy. As someone whose life work revolves around listening, I have learned to listen in a way that says I understand and am here. And yes, it has taken lots of practice and there are times when I also struggle.

Yet communication is a key part of our everyday interactions of which listening is a key component.

• Do we listen to respond?
• Do we listen to fix a problem?
• Do we listen so we can talk about ourselves? or
• Do we listen to connect?

Many of us have heard of active listening yet listening to connect is that plus more. Active listening is about listening to what is said and then being able to reflect back in our own words to ensure understanding. It helps us be more informed or influence others. Listening to connect engages our heart brain – the brain involved in human connection. It engenders trust and opens and expands the space for others to think more effectively leading to insight, new ideas and co creation.

Listening to connect is a skill and we can all leverage the concept of neuroplasticity to make change. Through focussed attention, we can develop that neural pathway for better listening. A few ideas to assist:

• Put aside technology when listening to another person
• Practice just listening and not responding
• Connect with the words and emotions in what is being said
• Show empathy
• Seek to understand using open ended questions
• Put aside the need to be right or respond with your own thinking
• Be willing and open to explore
• Be willing to support a person in their own thinking simply by being present for them rather than having to ‘fix it’

Please listen with your head and your heart.