Sometimes it hurts to the core when we feel we are not heard. We speak, tell our story, say what we want to communicate our message and then the person we are speaking to jumps in and tells their story, changes the subject or completely ignores us. We feel our heart sink and think to ourselves “they didn’t hear me, they don’t care”.
We live in a society that dismisses the power of listening. Our own personal stuff, story, words and opinions seem to be more important than those we are listening to. Often it seems we love the sound of our own voice, we think our stories are more important, bigger or better than others. We think we matter more. What makes this happen? What do we think we will gain from doing this? Do we realise what we are doing and how it is impacting all of our relationships. It would be great if this was a generalisation, however, sadly it is not.
We are programmed from an early age to model this behaviour and it becomes an unconscious action. The power of listening in our community today seems foreign. It is modelled in question time in parliament, throughout the workplace, in families, groups, at schools and all the way through to customer service. It’s harsh but true.
One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. When we feel heard we feel valued. When we don’t feel valued our vibration spirals towards the negative, our energy is low and depletes our self-worth. When our self-worth is challenged we tend to shy away from things, people, events, activities. Instead of standing in our power we slide backwards. It can often feel like we are watching our life or an event from the sideline and have a total disconnect. It steals our confidence and the downward spiral is started.
The first step to consider is, do we want to have different outcomes? We might think we are great at listening, really how hard can it be? We could think it’s others who don’t listen to us, however the truth is 99 per cent of us do not listen well. We must start to be different and we will then start to receive something different in return.
An example might be, listening to someone speaking to us and being fully present. Asking questions for more information instead of telling our story. When we ask questions we will of course receive more information, the more information we receive the more of an engaged conversation we will have on the topic being discussed.
The more present we are in the conversation the more listened to and respected the person we are talking with will feel. When we turn this around and put our feet in the other person’s shoes, we might wonder, because it’s good to wonder, how it would be to be heard from this place? The quieter we become, the more we can hear and we start to heal the moment we feel heard. Relationships shift when we implement the power of listening.
Listening tips and techniques:
- God gave us two ears and one mouth to do double the amount of listening than talking.
- Stay 100 per cent focused on the words being shared, listening means taking a second to consider what someone is staying, not just hearing their words.
- Ask questions, this will engage us and give us more information.
- Fully show up in the conversation; let go of all distractions – this shows respect.
- Practise letting go of our story – when someone is talking to us it’s not about us!
- When listening to children meet them at their level, get down on our knees.
- Use the words we hear and reflect back – this supports rapport and engagement.
- Notice other people’s conversations, notice the good listening techniques and the not so good techniques – implement new strategies and feel the change.