Reading time: 65 seconds
I was sitting on my back deck the other night star-gazing. The evening temperature was about 22 degrees Celsius, there was a light breeze and the hint of a new moon. It was so tranquil. I was so in-tune with the peacefulness of the moment that all of my senses were totally engaged. I could feel how quiet yet aware I was. An enormous sense of gratitude filled me and I felt very centered.
That would have been a good time for someone to drop some serious news.
Not that I was looking to hear about anything bad – God forbid – but being so present and grateful gave me a sense of being in control.
It would have been easy to give supportive attention to even the most challenging of situations.
The last time you shared some difficult news with someone, what was their response?
Did they freak out? Did they compete by sharing one of their circumstances? Did they minimize your news? Or were they engaged and helpful?
I think a real challenge for many of us is mastering the art of listening.
We operate on overload most of the time so when it’s time to listen, when the information comes in, we’re filtering and preparing our response before it’s even our turn.
Aha – “The opposite of listening isn’t talking, it’s waiting.” Daniel H. Pink
I don’t remember a class in school that taught how to listen. We were told to listen but what does that even mean?
Most people will hear you but how much of what you’re sharing are they capturing before they take their turn to jump in?
“Listening without some degree of intimacy isn’t really listening. It’s passive and transactional rather than active and engaged.” says Pink.
Listening intently does conjure emotion and images of relevant experiences. In fact some people feel the need to finish your sentences as they’re convinced they already know what you’re going to say.
But what if you sat still with 100% of your focus on only the content and delivery of the person sharing the story THEN waited for a few seconds before you said a word.
The silence of a few seconds might seem like an eternity but if you’re really listening, can you actually be ready to respond immediately?
Give yourself time to listen.
You’re surrounded by some pretty incredible people.