Ever wondered why is it that with some people we feel good after talking while with others it doesn’t make a difference. Many a times, this is irrespective of whether we know the person well or not. What is it that makes us feel good? What is so special about these people? Are you one of them?
Until few years ago, I always believed talking must be purposeful, that is it should have an end objective. In fact, I had been always an admirer of people who talk less and do more. Many a times, I would politely excuse myself from the person or group, if I feel people are just chatting through without a clear objective. That was me. But all that changed after I was introduced to the world of coaching and art of listening.
Earlier, listening to me was all about assimilating what the other person says. I never used to read in between the lines. My focus was always on what is being said. In fact, now I realise that what I did was hearing. On the contrary Listening is all about connecting with the other person. It is not just hearing what is being said but also being aware of what is not being said. It is a skill that can be developed.
Did you know there are multiple levels of listening?
Level 1 or ‘Internal listening’: Here as the listener your focus in on yourself and your own thoughts rather than the speaker. As the speaker is talking you interpret what you hear in terms of what it means to you. This is normal everyday conversation where it is natural as the listener to gather information to help you form opinions and make decisions.
Level 2 or ‘Listening to understand’: As a listener operating at level 2, you are focusing totally on the speaker, listening to their words, tone of voice and body language and are not distracted by your own thoughts and feelings. By listening at level 2 you can get a real understanding of where the other person is ‘coming from’. This makes the other person feel understood.
Level 3 or ‘Global Listening’: This involves the listener focusing on the speaker and picking up more than what is being said. It involves listening to everything available using intuition, picking up emotion and sensing signals from the other person’s body language. You can gauge the energy of the other person and their emotions as well as picking up what they are not saying. You will understand what they are thinking and feeling, and trusting your own senses can be extremely responsive to the needs of the other person by knowing where and how to steer the discussion.
Ever since, I have started developing my listening skills, it has changed me as a person both internally and externally. I am now able to connect with people and have deeper richer communication. At the end of communication, I often get feedback from people that they feel refreshed after the discussion. The same is true for me as well. Because of the internal change I have gone through, I also now come across friends and colleagues who take time to connect with me sometimes even over a cup of coffee just for being listened to. Sometimes, it could simply be something that they are not clear about and want to crystallize their thought process. This is usually achieved by me listening to them and extending my curiosity and challenging their assumptions and belief levels. Other times, it can simply be the need to vent out their frustrations after which they feel better.
Did you know, having someone with whom you can talk and feel listened to can be a great stress buster. In today’s world, where everyone is struggling to make enough time for their needs, people often don’t have the patience to take time and connect with people. This also explains why the stress levels continue soaring up in our society as this fundamental human need for being listened to is not always being met.
More than 80% of the time people hire coaches not because they are looking for solution or external motivator but for just being listened to. In my own coaching experience, I have observed that my clients often have all the answers for the questions and issues they are facing. What they really need is someone non-judgemental who can listen to them and help crystallize their thoughts. Finally when they arrive at their own solutions, they feel energized and empowered. Because at the end of the day every one of us is unique in our own little ways and there is never a one solution fit all.
Want to build upon your listening skills or looking for someone who can listen and connect with you and recognize you for who you are? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for setting up a complimentary appointment for 30 minutes to explore how we can partner to achieve your end game.