Mindful listening

Mindful listening

This constant, low-grade sense of urgency can impede genuine communication. 
Mindful listening - 
focused attention to what another person is saying, without judging or having an agendais a foundational skill that is rarely practised anywhere.

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Communication

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When you’re in conversation, set your mind to being present, receptive, and ready to listen with compassion. 

Bring yourself into the moment with a few deep breaths and ask yourself: What is this person communicating beyond the words they use? 

When the other person is speaking, just listen. Stay mentally active and alert. Use nonverbal signals like nodding or smiling to let the person know you’re tuned in.
As with mindful breathing, your thoughts will wander. 

When you realize that your mind has drifted, let go of the thoughts and return your attention to what the person is saying.

Tuning in to your own body can give you valuable information about your direct experience when listening.

Is there tightness in your chest, uneasiness in your belly? Or do you feel a lightness and a sense of joy?

When you get fairly good at listening mindfully without speaking, begin to experiment with offering brief verbal comments that express kindness, or ask questions that deepen understanding. 

The key is to keep the focus on the speaker, not to bend it around to yourself. You might try, “Oh, that sounds rough. What happened next?”

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RELATED IDEAS

Participate
  • Nod your understanding and make eye contact with the speaker.
  • Ask clarifying questions.
  • Maintain body language that shows you are interested.
  • Avoid slouching in your chair and looking bored.
  • Take notes, but continue to stay focused on the speaker, looking up often.

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IDEAS

What makes a great listener
  • Asking great questions;
  • Playing attention to the nonverbal communication;
  • Forgoing taking detailed notes to pay better attention;
  • Listening with the intent to understand, not the intent to respond;
  • Making people feel heard;
  • Following up on what matters.
Ask More Questions

Ask more questions than you give answers.

When you ask questions, you create a safe space for other people to give you an unvarnished truth.

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