I have a question for you. Are you a generous listener?
Or, do you actually pretend to listen when people are talking to you?
Let me explain what I mean by generous listening…
It’s when you’re talking with someone and you do three things:
1. You give them your full attention.
This isn’t always easy. 47% of the time our attention is on something other than what is happening. So you really have to focus to do this. Usually we listen and are thinking about what we’ll say next, or what you think about (judging) what they’re saying, or maybe remembering you need yogurt next time you’re at Trader Joe’s.
2. You listen with curiosity.
Really interested in what they have to day. This can be tricky if the person you are listening to has different views than you do. This is happening so much in the world today. Now more than ever we need to be curious of others’ viewpoints so we can learn and find common ground. Or maybe you’re thinking more quickly than they are talking and you are getting impatient or bored. What if you listened with the idea that they are fascinating!
3. You listen with an open heart.
This is about whole body listening. This might sound weird but you can pick up so much from someone beyond what words they are saying. When you are just listening with your mind and thoughts – you miss a lot. When I was in the Amazon rainforest and working with a Shaman I had an experience during a ceremony where I received a very clear message to listen with my heart (as opposed to my head). To actually listen with your heart it takes quieting your mind enough to be able to get clues, feelings, and knowings that you’d otherwise miss in the noise of your inner chatter.
When you are able to do this, truly listen with generosity whether it’s with friends, family, or your team and clients you will be building much deeper connections. People so want to be heard. Generous listening is like giving them the present that they have been asking for. They’ll be surprised and delighted. And maybe, just maybe, our world will start to change for the better.
Every good wish,
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