Listen to me when I speak. It’s not about you, the way you feel, your experiences, your model of the world, your opinions and the suggestions you want to make to help me. It’s about me.
Working as a coach I’ve learnt to listen and believe me, it’s a skill.
Listening with the intention of understanding and not with the intention of replying. Too often people (the listeners) tend to focus on the things they should say and how they should say it, however to be effective, communication should focus more on listening and asking questions to clarify understanding.
Being a good listener is not about understanding words or a piece of information being communicated, it’s about understanding the whole picture, the emotions and the thought processes the person is communicating on another level.
There is a huge difference between hearing someone and really listening and paying attention. When you are truly engaged with what is being said—you will be paying more attention and hear the subtle voice qualities, such as intonations, pauses, pitch, stresses in someone’s voice. These, alone can tell you how that person is feeling and the emotions they’re trying to suppress or communicate. Paying real attention when listening to someone will make you understand the other person and they will feel it too! This is turn will help you build a stronger and deeper relationship.
When I was studying Carl Rodgers, my lecturer gave us a really good tip to stop our mind going into the ‘what should I say?’ mode, it’s a simple tool, just repeat what the person says in your head. Other effective tools are mirroring body language, paraphrasing what they say, to make sure you understand them, and asking clarifying questions to show your interest.
When we communicate we mostly use nonverbal signals. Non-verbal communication includes facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, gestures displayed through body language (kinesics) and the physical distance between the communicators (proxemics).
Paying attention to these non-verbal signals, will give you clues and additional meaning that goes way beyond the explicit meaning of words, or verbal communication. Just being aware of non-verbal signals will help you with identifying deliberate or unintentional implicit messages.
The way you look, listen, move, and react to another person tells them more about how you are feeling than words alone ever can.
Non-verbal communication really helps you connect with people, so next time you listen, remember, it’s not about you!
Marie claude Bouchet
Mental well-being, stress management, resilience etc.