Have you ever listened to someone speak to you?
I mean truly listened. Allowed your mind to hear the words they are speaking. Taken notice of their body language. Their posture. Their pauses, their breathing.
Listened to the words they are saying, and the words they are expressing through other means.
Would it surprise you to know that right now, we’re living in a world where true active listening is uncommon? Probably not.
You might have felt it before.
The person you’re talking to is looking around, looking at the ground, their watch. Or even worse, their cellphone. They’re distracted. Whether consciously or not, they’re allowing their presence to be elsewhere.
Or maybe you’ve experience it when the person you’re talking to, is listening with the intent to respond. You can see their words on the tip of their tongues, waiting for a break in your sentence, so they can chime in.
They’re paying more attention to the voice in their head, trying to remember their next sentence, than the words that are coming out of your mouth.
So many of us are caught up in the “busy-ness” of life, we’re rushing through conversations, we’re looking for the bullet points, we’re waiting to move on to the next thing on our to-do list. We’re time-poor. But on the flipside, we’re also just plain choosing distraction over presence.
And as a result, we find ourselves less engaged. Distracted. Missing the cues. Not truely connecting on a deeper level.
Imagine if we chose to slow down for just a moment. To enjoy the company of another person. To listen to their words, feel their emotions and understand their true meaning. To engage on this level - is pretty darn magical.
So how do we do this?
Just imagine for a moment this. What if the next time you sat down for coffee or lunch with a friend, your cellphone was on silent, left safely in your car. Your eyes are focused on your friend in front of you. You’re not listening to the sound of the coffee machine behind you, or the laughter of the table next to you, you’re just focusing your energy on being 100% present with your friend.
What if you used this presence to take in their body language. Feeling the emotions they are talking about, as they speak. And understanding why they are saying what they’re saying, because your intuition is hearing them.
What if, instead of responding with your own stories, or your own advice, or your own experiences, you acknowledge their words. You reflected their words back to them, and you acknowledged the emotions you can see, hear, feel.
When we speak we’re not always looking for someone else to tell us the answer. We’re don’t always need to be told people know what we’re talking about. We’re just looking for someone to listen. To connect on a deeper level. To truly hear us.