Listening is a key component of good communications and because we are hearing what others are saying, we “assume” we are listening. There is a difference
“Listening is about being present, not just being quiet.”
― Krista Tippett
When we listen, we are giving. We are giving our time and attention to somebody else. In that, attention is a gift. In a day and age when many people do not feel seen or heard, our listening can make all the difference.
There is a story about a woman who went to her hair stylist one day. The hair stylist felt something was off. She asked the guest, what was going on. The woman opened up and shared some of her frustration. The stylist did not try to problem solve with the guest. Nor did she tell her everything was going to be all right. She just listened with presence. The woman dried her eyes, said, “thank you” and left
A few days later, the stylist got a hand written card. It was from her guest saying, “Thank You, you saved my life. I was prepared to kill myself that evening. I get my hair done because I wanted to look good. Your listening to me really helped me see there was more to life.”
I believe I read this, years ago in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. This story demonstrates the very real power that listening has. With our devices, our remote workspaces and busy lives we need to spend more time listening to each other. Not necessarily to solve or fix. Rather to just listen.
This goes for your teammates in business. In fact arguably more so. Because we are often running faster and faster working to be even more productive, sometimes it is helpful to have someone listen to our ideas and help us speak them out loud. I know that is where I often get some of my very best ideas; in the reflection of someone’s listening.
Three Ways to Listen better:
- Turn away from the screen. Whether it is a computer monitor or your phone there is always something calling to you.
- Let go of your agenda. We all have one, putting it aside will allow you to really understand what the other is communicating, beyond the words.
- Ask clarifying questions. There are many shades of blue. And, just like that a “compelling” marketing message could mean many things.
If you would like to learn more about how communication can help your teams align, engage and execute please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org