Probably We All Think We’re Great Listeners
In fact though, when we’re supposed to be focused on what someone else is saying, our minds can be very busy with all kinds of thoughts. We may be lost in the past, projecting into the future, worrying about what we’ll say next, concerned about what action we might take next and how that will be perceived, and what about our reputations?
When We Onto All These Worries, We Hear Nothing
Sharon Salzberg, in her book, Real Happiness at Work, says, “In order to improve communication, we must learn to be mindful of what would best achieve the goals of both parties. Listening to understand without agreeing or disagreeing can show you how open you are to someone’s ideas – and how open they can be to yours.
Two Tips for More Mindful Listening
1. As you begin engage with someone in conversation at work, whether one-on-one or in a group, sit and allow your hands to relax and just rest somewhere comfortably. Really focus on the feeling of relaxing the palms of the hands, then the fingers, completely. Then attune your listening to the person speaking. When the hands are relaxed it’s nearly impossible to be tense and closed. AS the body opens, so does the listening heart and mind.
2. If you know you have a meeting or conversation coming up, make a commitment to yourself to listen more than you talk. Allow pauses to arise between verbal exchanges. In those pauses, is great wisdom. Let the words of the other sink in. Give yourself permission to take your time to reflect on your common goals and what you might want to hear in return if you were the person speaking.