How Are You Listening

How Are You Listening

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We all do it. When any particular user is speaking to us, an point of our attention is diverted to our agenda – what we too can have been thinking about before, what we might be doing in its place, and maximum incessantly, how we can volley back with our cleverly crafted retort to the anticipated storyline.

Its human nature to leap ahead of one extra speaker in our minds and set up to reply. And undoubtedly, some amount of this is needed to effectively dialogue . However, we incessantly miss quite barely content fabric and intended meaning when we allow our minds to wander too far away from the present second.

I was a newly-minted school grad working for a health insurer in Kendall Square, Cambridge when my boss called me into his office. It was time for my annual review, and I was in a position to hear his positive feedback for all my now not delicate work. As Joe began to share his impressions with me, I was already two steps ahead of him, readying to impress with my quick, intelligent comeback. So, when he suddenly stopped speaking and leaned back in his chair, I catapulted into my rift of cleverly articulated response. For a higher uncomfortably protracted minutes, he did now not speak. Hmm, now he had my attention. I wondered what he was thinking, and requested. He leaned forward with a twinkle in his eye and said, Sheryl, do you think you hear me when I talk?

In a swift gust, the air was sucked out of my sails and my middle sank. Hurt, defensive and embarrassed, I would perhaps perhaps no longer speak. Joe went on to explain how I was smart but spent too quite barely time talking and now not enough time enormously listening when he spoke. Ouch! No one had ever said whatever so blunt and uncommon to me at work. I spent a higher few weeks wandering around in a fog, feeling unappreciated, betrayed and insulted, and a higher many years mastering the endless value of his question.

Flash forward to 2008 when I took my first coach coaching. There were many desirable programs as an point of our program, but the one that stuck to me like glue was called Reflective Listening. An entire class devoted to the paintings of listening to one extra. It was at some point of these 12 weeks that I became immersed in the techniques of being completely present to a members' unfolding story. I learned to be an active listener – now not any particular user preoccupied with preparing a comeback but actively paying undivided attention to the speaker.

Active listening is a slowly acquired skill set which could take years of practice and patience to master. Concentrating ones attention on what is being said in its place of passively hearing might be a game changer to compassionate communication. Active listening comes to your entire senses and conveys to the speaker, through eye contact, verbal, facial and postural cues, mirrored frame language, cadence, pauses and short classes of silence, that attention is being shown. Here are a lot of ideas for an active listener to keep most smart of mind:

1) Remain neutral, non-judgmental and resist interrupting the speaker.
2) Demonstrate attentiveness, interest and positive reinforcement by recalling particulars and asking acceptable or clarifying questions.
3) Reflect back by repeating, paraphrasing, and summarizing.
4) Mirror the speakers tone, rhythm and language.
5) Be present with a curious mind.


Whether in a enterprise meeting, writing an editorial, or speaking with a friend, our attention is incessantly easily hijacked when our mind wanders. And in todays quick-paced worldwide of regular emails, texts, calls, and social media messages, staying concentrated can enormously feel downright now not possible.

Given your entire demands on our time, its no surprise that we are frequently now not repeatedly present with the of us in front of us. It takes time and try to refocus after an interruption, and multitasking would perhaps perhaps have adverse outcomes on our productivity and cognitive capacity. However, the additional we practice returning our wandering mind back to the present, the higher we become at connecting with and just listening to others.

To pick average flooring, communication comes to the exchange of sometimes opposing viewpoints and opening our minds to anothers perspective. Cultivating the habit of listening with curiosity and attention improves connection and mutual knowing, and offers us valuable input to enrich the conversation and relationship.

So, a higher time any particular user is speaking, be aware: are you busy interrupting or taking into account your rebuttal? Or, are you staying open to one extra members perspective? The worldwide around us provides abundant distraction on which to blame our loss of presence. But, if we practice pressing the pause button in our minds and talk about the speakers words and intentions, we just might hear that insightful bit wed otherwise have missed.

And, to Joe twenty years later – thanks for that candid second of honesty. Your willingness to hold up a mirror has turned into an uncommon, lifelong gift that also illuminates my path.

Active listening is the opportunity in any relationship. Take a second to lean in and invest your full attention.

Author's Bio: 

Sheryl Melanson is a Boston-area Certified Health and Lifestyle coach who supports of us who are searching for realignment of decisions and actions with values for optimal well-being. She might be reached at or

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