Powerful Listening was written for you. Listening is the most powerful tool for success in business and in life. So if it’s that important, why don’t we listen better?
Hearing vs Listening
There is more to listening than just hearing. We hear even when we’re asleep, but we often fail to listen when we’re fully awake. There’s an old saying, ‘Most people tend to be hard of listening rather than hard of hearing.’
Listening requires focusing on what we’re hearing.
The anatomy of skillful listening
In order to move beyond just hearing, you must understand and master the three components of skillful listening:
LISTEN WITH YOUR BODY
Our body language as a listener can either enhance or detract from our own responses to the speaker. Our words and actions must line up for our responses to the speaker. Our words and actions must line up for our responses to be genuine. The response doesn’t ring true when it and the accompanying body language don’t match up.
To be a great listener, it is important to clearly understand how one responds with his or her body speaks far more clearly than anything he or she can say with words. The listener’s body language will either convey, ‘I’m listening to you’ or ‘I would rather be somewhere else.’
As a powerful listener, you must find a way to listen to the speaker’s body language and, at the same time, respond sincerely with your own body.
LISTEN WITH YOUR VOICE
Active, reflective, empathic (ARE) listening requires a response, and it is equally important as sensing and processing. The quality of the response has a strong bearing on successful listening.
Responding is what we also call reflecting. It is the response part of active, reflective, empathic listening. Simply put, it means to reflect back what you, the listener, hear the speaker saying.
Just as a mirror reflects what it is in front of it, you–the listener–will reflect back what the speaker is trying to say. When you look in a mirror, it doesn’t tell you what to wear, or that you look handsome, pretty or even downright ugly today. It just reflects what is there. The same is true of reflecting listening.
LISTEN WITH YOUR MIND
It only occurs when you are relaxed and patient, open with your body, at peace, and yet at once active. In this place you are able to reflect and draw from a plentiful reservoir of patience. When you reach this point, you have set the stage for listening with your mind, which is much more than just listening with your brain.
Your mind uses your brain, but your mind is far bigger. If your brain is the computer, your mind is the person sitting at the keyboard. Your mind is not limited to your brain or even your body. You hear, you process, you respond with your brain. Your mind moves beyond the boundaries of your head and, like water, it flows and mingles with other minds in close proximity. Your mind is the part that empathizes and connects with others.