How well are you listening?

Listening is totally different from hearing and unlike hearing, we can and should put considerable effort into improving how we listen.

Listening allows us to do amazing things: 

  1. Interact with other people
  2. Enrich our spirit and soul, eg. when we listen to music
  3. Learn new perspectives, information and gain knowledge 
  4. Stimulate our personal growth
  5. To feel someone else’s emotions -Empathy
  6. Inspire self-motivation
  7. Gain access to what is between and beyond the words.

Anyone of these things would be a good reason to become a masterful listener and after writing an article on “growth”, I decided I needed to become a better listener.

We can all find ways to improve our listening skills, but to help you get started I have listed a few ideas that I have used with great success: 

  • Prepare yourself to listen by eliminating distractions before you engage.
  • Focus your mind and all your senses on the person talking, there is a lot more information available beyond their words. Listen for urgency, enthusiasm, pain, their perspective, biases, belief, their pleasure, intent, resilience and conviction.
  • Train yourself to not assume or conclude that you know what this person is saying or going to say.

My confession:

Over this last month I have realized I am not a very good listener. I listen with a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head, I try to solve people’s problems without being invited to, I have a terrible habit of finishing people’s sentences or replying to them before they have finished speaking.

My commitment to action:

I am now trying to listen and learn as much as I can. learning to respect the power of silence, ask open ended questions to draw out further details and increase my understanding. I am preparing myself by making enough time to truly listen and when there isn’t enough time to have a proper conversation, simply reschedule.

Old habits die hard and I need to persevere and double down to try and make the changes that I want to see. 

Actually this has been a lot harder to master than I thought it would be, so I can only assume I had a lot of work to do. I would like to encourage you to come on this journey with me, it certainly needs to feature on my next year’s goal list.

I previously wrote an article about “Mind Power”, visualisation is just one of the tools John Kehoe or Robin Banks teach in their Mind Power training.  This has helped me and I am using it in the following ways: (it may help you too)

  • I imagine the person talking, me respecting them by giving them the space to be the best version of themselves they can be. I imagine them thanking me for being a great listener (something that has never actually happened yet) and confirming how that has helped them. 
  • I imagine that I truly understand the person talking, resulting in a flow of rich live streams of understanding and growth. In my mind I see a conveyer piled high with useful information coming into my ears. 
  • I imagine people moving closer to me to share something they have never previously told anyone. Amazingly focused listening seems to inspire people to trust me more quickly and open up about things that they may not have been prepared to share before.

I hope sharing my challenge inspires you in some way to do something that will help you become a better more successful person in life and in business.

Mark Collins