My wife will sometimes say,
“You are not listening to me.”
“I am,” I reply, and to prove the point will often give her a quick rundown of what she has been saying.
Of course, as is frequently the case, she is right and I am wrong. I am HEARING her but not LISTENING. And there is a big difference.
It is often said there are 2 types of listening,
1. Listening to Understand
2. Listening to Reply
My assertion is that the second of these is not really listening at all, but hearing, like we hear background music, we are aware of its presence but not really listening to it at all as we are so wrapped up in our own thought process.
In my opinion there is a third, more powerful type of listening,
3. Listening to Connect
This Deep Listening, with a clear mind and open heart is a powerful process that can have a profound impact on both listener and the person being listened to. It opens up a strong connection, a shared, felt experience. It creates a space of power and beauty. It may be a strange concept, but that connection can convey messages without a single word being spoken. A quick YouTube search for Eye Contact Experiment can show you the power of simple connection.
But it goes far beyond that. When we listen to connect we do so with a clear mind, and in that space we can access our own innate wisdom, love and intuition. We know that our best ideas coming to us when we are in the shower, or when our minds are ‘less busy,’ and so it is with this form of listening. You will be surprised at the depth of your own understanding when listening from this place.
And for the one being listened too, not only is there a sense of connection, but a real sense of ‘being heard,’ a sense of being present in the moment, and really mattering.
Listening to Understand is good, it is a step up, but trying to understand can get in the way. Listening to Connect clears the way, and in that clear space, miracles can happen.
Why not try it with your partner. Listen to what they are saying with no agenda, without trying to understand, with a clear mind, and see what happens.
Let me know the result in the comments below
Martyn Dawes is a Coach, Social Care Consultant, and Author of The Overwhelmed Manager: What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do