Mindful Listening Improves Relationships and Boosts Opportunity
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who appears to be listening but is really just waiting to deliver their opinion?
How about with someone who insists that they are listening even though they’re simultaneously responding to an email?
Maybe you’ve had a conversation that went absolutely nowhere because one or more parties simply needed to be right.
Or the trickiest faux listener of all, the one who nods along and repeats a few key phrases, but is actually constructing a to-do list in their head.
These conversations never result in anything innovative, creative or exciting. They are a barrier to opportunity. And they feel lousy – making them a barrier to connection and intimacy.
The Wait-to-Talker, The Multi-Tasker, The Bully, and the Zombie are listening personas that we’ve all exhibited– probably more often than we care to admit – not because we intend to, but because we’re not intentional at all.
These are default behaviors that protect us from getting caught when we’re unprepared, unfocused or uninterested.
Makes sense, right? Maybe they even seem useful now?
There’s a tradeoff to that protection. It only exists when you are focused on the past or future tense. It’s causing you to miss the moment that you’re in.
And 100% of everything real exists only in the present moment.
Practice Mindful Listening by using these 3 simple tips.
BE PRESENT – Put away your phone, look up from what you’re doing and really SEE and HEAR the person in front of you.
WITHHOLD OPINION AND JUDGEMENT – This is a really difficult one for most people. After all, our opinions and judgments are based on our experiences and they’re what we use to navigate the world. By putting them aside for a few moments, you’ll be better able to listen without your lens filtering or skewing what’s being said – leaving you free to notice opportunities, insights, and connections you otherwise may have missed. And don’t worry, if they’re useful, your opinions and judgments will be right there where you left them.
CONNECTING MEANS NOT FIXING – Make sure you leave the advice for occasions where it’s being requested. Much of the venting people do is a way of simply thinking things aloud or untangling some emotion that’s getting in their way. When we jump in to offer them our fix, it impedes that process and can hurt rather than help.
Try remaining detached from the outcome and simply acknowledging that you hear them. “Wow! I can see why you’re so fired up, it sounds like a complicated situation!” will create a lot more trust than, ”Why don’t you just….?” Or “I think you should…”