Practice Deep Listening
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
– Stephen R. Covey
Deep listening is a way of being present for another person, where you pay full attention, without judging what they’re saying or intervening, leaving aside that desire to express what you think. It implies establishing an intention of respect, openness, calmness and understanding, avoiding comment, "fix" or "correct", which is something that only serves our personal need to influence and satisfy our ego.
Being fully present for another person means putting yourself in their situation, experiencing their current reality even when they’re tired, stressed, or need help and don’t know how to ask for it.
During this week, when you have a conversation, practice listening deeply, showing with your body language and feedback a clear attitude of attention and empathy, not just listening to the words but each and every one of the dimensions of what is being said: the message implicit, emotions, body language ...
If you find it difficult (this is not easy!) These three thoughts will help you maintain a deep listening attitude:
I want to listen: Remember that it is an opportunity to practice.
I am here: Create the intention to focus your attention on the present moment, without letting yourself be carried away by the thoughts and opinions that arise.
I want to understand: Your mind and body are oriented to understand the other person.
WHY IS IT GOOD?
Deep listening is the key to every healthy relationship. When we’re truly listening we’re showing our respect and love towards that person.
It’s an effective way to bring about growth and change. When we’re heard we release oxytocin reducing stress and opening up the path to a solution or reducing the importance of the problem.
Those who are heard tend to be more open, more democratic in their ways, and are often less defensive.
Listening is contagious. When we listen to others, then chances are they will be more inclined to listen to us.
Here are some situations where you can start practising deep listening:
A friend tells you his weekend’s emotional drama.
A friend tells you about the business she plans to set up.
A customer complains.
Your neighbour talks to you about his dog's cuteness.