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8 Simple Steps to Better Listening

Check in and make sure you are in a place where you have the capacity, the energy, and bandwidth to really offer the other person your undivided attention and presence. For example, “I can feel your excitement to share this, and you deserve my 100% presence in this conversation. However, I am noticing I am feeling rather exhausted and have so many things on my mind. How would you feel if I took some time to finish the projects I have on my plate and we sit and talk in two hours?” Share authentically. If you don’t have the capacity, let them know that you understand the importance and that they deserve your presence. Make sure to schedule another time to revisit this conversation, this shows their importance and value.

  1. If you are available, move forward and make sure you are in a room that doesn’t have distractions if possible.

  1. Tell your partner what you would like to share. Use life affirming language, share from the I. For example, I feel excited, I feel sad, I noticed I felt jealous when this happened. Sharing from the I shows accountability of your feelings rather than projecting your perspective story onto them.

  1. Be sure you have understood the other person, and be sure they know it by saying or asking. Be mindful to resist mechanically repeating “I hear you.” For example, “If I understood you correctly, You feel hurt when _____, and you desire to_____. Is this correct?”

  1. Be sure you listen to the other persons or people and what they are communicating with an open heart. This will prevent any feelings or unspoken words from lingering in the process which could create resentment and upset. You might ask, “Would you like to share more or elaborate on this so I may really understand what you are feeling or desiring?”

  1. Tune in to your compassion. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes as best you can. This really allows the other person to know that even if you disagree that you are in this together as a team. As the other person shares and you are doing your best to know their experience, you can reflect the understanding back with statements like “If I were you I could imagine I might be feeling __________.”

  1. Once the sharing is complete, calmly repeat what you heard and understood. In this repetition you are acknowledging their personal truth and needs or requests. You do not need to agree in order to acknowledge, but it is important to do it. Acknowledgments soften the desire to defend or fight and opens the door to more of a win/win outcome. It helps people lean in for more. Acknowledge in a way that will reach their hearts and body. For example, “I can imagine how challenging this situation is for you,” or “what you are asking is completely understandable and you deserve this.”

  1. Checking in to see if you have any REQUESTS. After a Deep Listening session, you may want something from the other person. It’s important to communicate this desire as a request and not as a demand. Demands have a tendency to be met with resistance. Requests hold the quality of an invitation, they are welcoming and allow you to share truly what it is you’re needing or wanting in this moment.

If you are making a request, I suggest you start with something simple that is alive for you in this moment. If you’re working with a loved one, you might ask to share a hug, or for a loving gesture. If with a business colleague or associate, your request may be to communicate differently, or to receive a small gesture that would make the project easier and more productive. Now you have created a platform that will begin to create greater trust and safety for you, your lovers and relationships. This will open up the door to deeper intimacy and better communication.

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