Thursday, June 2, 2011

Deep Listening- a way of Life

At times, I really wonder how some people enter our lives and stay on forever, while others leave in a short time. There are also cases when we’ve known someone for really long but never quite shared our personal spaces with’em due to lack of trust or simply difference in their’s and our respective wavelengths.

What’s so special about our Best Friends/Confidants? They’re just like many others around you. So, what is it that makes them stand out? It could well be because they’re always there for us or we probably share the same kind of interests with’em and so on.

But, the thing that draws the line between our Confidants and Acquaintances is the listening  aspect. There are some people who listen to you better than most. That mere quality of listening can make a world of difference and instill trust and improve rapport between 2 individuals.

Deep Listening was the topic for the in-house Learning session held at office, last Saturday. We went about deconstructing it and arrived at some very interesting inferences.

First, we shared each other’s individual experiences when it came to deep listening and observed what difference it had made in that particular context. It’s sincere application made a positive impact while its non-application tended to made things worse.

When we have one-on-one conversations with our peers, family members and others, we often are put into situations where we have to do the listening part or to put it in simpler words- hear out somebody’s story. At this point of time, we often find ourselves getting distracted due to some random reason or unable to pay concentration to what the other person has to say. Deep Listening is the approach we’ve gotta take!

On further discussion on the topic, we arrived at few insightful inferences :
  • For Deep Listening to be successful, we’ve got to ask questions to get clarifications and get more info.
  • We’ve got to pay utmost attention to Facts in the story, Feelings at every level and the Intent of the speaker in that context
  • There is also a need to give feedback/acknowledgement, the most critical element of effective communication, so that the other person feels ‘being listening to’. This gives him/her the ability to proceed further with their story in an uncomplicated manner
  • Deep listening more often than not results in progress/positive change or shift from the previous state
  • We need to listen to the other person without any preconceived notions and an empty mind.
  • This will help us to analyze the other person’s situation better
  • While deep listening, we’ve also got to make sure that we are non-judgmental and don’t come to any conclusions during the conversation
  • At no point of time should the speaker be sympathized with, the listener’s job is to empathize with them
  • Also, we should remember that deep listening is really about understanding the context of the speaker’s story and not about coming to an agreement with it
  • And lastly, deep listening is all about patience and willingness to hold in the heart

Post the deep listening phase comes action time, when we need to reply to the speaker and express what we feel about the whole thing. Here is what we simply need to do, in order:
  1. Rephrase the account and narrate it to the speaker.
  2. Name that Feeling.
  3. State the Intention

“The choice to listen, is the choice to love!”
                                                                                   - Kiran Gulrajani

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