The Power of Listening and Being Heard
I have a super power...
It’s the power of listening.
I have known for a while that the greatest gift I have to give my clients is the space to talk and be truly heard. It’s something that I love to do and am naturally good at. Just holding the space for someone and warmly listening while they talk about whatever is alive in them in that moment.
But enough about me.
This is a super power that is available to us all. So let’s find out more about it.
What does it do for the person being heard?
There is an incredible power in being heard. It does many things for you, including:
1. Creating a warm and lovely feeling of being validated, important, cared for etc.
2. Providing you with the opportunity to process your thoughts and feelings about something.
3. Allowing you the space to gain fresh insights and ideas about the situation or yourself.
These insights could be about work, your business, your health, relationships, emotional blocks, money issues and so on.
Powerful stuff right?! So…
When did you last talk while someone deeply listened? (Or vice versa)
We live in the age of busyness and burnout. In a world saturated with noise and activity, many people are overwhelmed or overstimulated. They simply have too much on their to-do list and not enough capacity to do it. This means that most of the time their mind is busy creating thoughts. These thoughts aren’t always helpful (more often than not that are repetitions of previous thoughts too!)
This leaks over into their conversations, so when someone asks you what you’ve been up to lately and you start answering them, there is quite a strong chance that their brain, which is on overdrive, will start immediately giving them things to say in response to what you are saying. It is well meaning. Intended to keep a conversation going, but what it actually does is stops short your opportunity to get the benefits listed above.
You may find yourself, that even when your intention is to give someone space to talk, that you actually seek to sympathise or fix, so you will naturally interject with thoughts of your own. While well intended, this disrupts a person’s flow and prevents them from working through the subject at hand and finding that fresh insight.
Deep listening is a win-win!
Don’t get me wrong, the is absolutely a time and a place for the type of conversation I’ve described above, where it is a back and forth. I’m not seeking to criticise those kinds of conversations. I have them every day! But this article is about the power of listening – really listening and of being heard.
During a CPD course last week on Deep Listening, it became clear why I like listening to my clients so much (beyond just the obvious reason that I care about people and it feels right to respectfully hold that space for them). For me, the time I spend with my clients listening is time that I am fully present and in the moment. That means that I feel calm, at rest, there is no commentary going on in my mind, or to-do lists mounting up. I am just sitting and being.
So listening is powerful for the listener if they can allow themselves to drop into that space and for the person being heard, having that wonderful opportunity to feel important and cared for, as well as gaining those fresh insights.
AND it goes further than that!
Deep listening has the power to create amazing relationships and repair strained ones!
Taking the time to deeply listen to someone fosters your understanding and empathy for that person, generating trust and strengthening or building an emotional bond between you.
If being calm, centered and in the present moment while you deeply listen wasn’t enough of a motivator for you, knowing that the quality of your relationships can be improved, and fresh creative solutions can be achieved will hopefully push you over the line!
Develop your deep listening super power!
Deep listening is a simple as asking an open ended question and then being present while the speaker answers, without interrupting/contributing, judging, or seeking to fix.
Well, yes. But it’s not necessarily easy. It takes practice.
We are not a nation of deep listeners, we are a nation of having quick “Hi, how are you?” surface level conversations. Or wanting to make connect via relating the conversation back to ourselves, or “fix” the situation.
If you want to develop your deep listening super power, all you need to do is practice. Listen whenever you can. Don’t contribute unless it is obvious that you need to. Notice what your mind does while you are listening and gently bring it back to listening when it starts doing other things.
So now my super power can be yours too!
Grab a friend, try the practice and enjoy the rewards.