It sounds like a mouthful compared to active listening, deeper listening or, even, empathetic listening and yes, it is.
After having had thousands of discussions and practice sessions in communications, coaching, sales and other leadership workshop I realize I can put this in a nutshell.
When wanting to listen and listen well, what do we do? We sit up. We shut off other thoughts. We pay attention to the lips that pour out the words. We turn up empathy and, yes, we smile-nod-twinkle and go uh, uh. Yeah!
Or, again, there are times when we are doing all that externally and internal parts of our self are going “what time is it, I wonder?” “is she wrapping by now?” “this is not what I came here to listen!” “he has no idea what he is talking about!” “I am so much better a thinker-communicator-what have you!”
Active listening is all bright-eyed, big smile and nodding approval kind of a listening. Deeper listening is reading between the lines and “feeling” things rather than just hearing the words. Compassionate listening is, really, getting ready to say “Oh dear, I know exactly what you are going through but let me tell you about the time… yadi-yadi-ya!”
Real listening is all of the above on the surface. Underneath, deep inside you the communicator, leader or a coach needs to be ready to give up all that is bright and beautiful inside you. You need to be ready to surrender all beliefs that you hold dear. You need to forego everything else that you have been planning to bring to the table.
- You need to surrender your position of listener-leader and be a follower.
- You need to give up the idea of wanting to offer wisdom, create value.
- You need to accept, lovingly and respectfully, the thought that what is presented may be better and productive.
- You need to become ready to let go of all that you think make up you.
- You need to be listening with a readiness and a willingness to change. Yes, change!
Listening with a readiness and willingness to change from the depths of your thoughts and the bottom of your heart, you need to be ready and willing to change. That is listening.
Any movements towards change can only come about if the cornerstone of our interactions is an honest-to-goodness willingness to change. All this, mind you, happens in fractions of seconds. That fraction of a second will make you a leader that was ready to change.