Skip to Navigation

Though ‘listening’ implies passive reception, it is actually a highly active process of responding to the speaker’s ‘whole message’. It means not only hearing the words, but also noticing visual cues like body language, the pace of breathing and eye movements.

Learning to listen properly is not a one-lesson exercise. Being able too pay attention fully to another – keeping our focus on them without jumping to conclusions or allowing our biases and judgements to occlude what we are hearing and observing – is an ongoing process of keeping our listening habits up to standard.

We act as if we don’t have time to listen, the modern pace of life with its attitudes to ‘getting things done’ emphasises outcomes and results. Listening is an activity which produces results, of course, but to do it properly means we must focus only on the process… the outcome sometimes has to wait.

If all this sounds a bit too much like hard work, it needn’t be. You already have all the abilities you need, they are part of the normal human repertoire of communication skills. If it’s true that most of us could do with improving our listening, it’s also true that all it really takes is self-awareness and practice.

If you need encouragement, remember how it felt the last time you gave another your fullest attention and simply listened. You may have noticed that to do it purposefully is an exercise in mindfulness. The benefits for the listener make a long list, and genuine listening provides some respite from having to get results elsewhere.

What do you think? Share your thoughts...

Latest from the blog

The Thursday Webinar – Depression and what to do about It

webinar, optimism, depression

When I talk about depression in a dismissive or disrespectful tone, it is because we need to dismiss the ideas that are getting in the way of helping people who suffer from depression.

Continue reading

We’ve been Talking About It Ever Since the Garden of Eden

Tend your garden

Our language is littered with gardening metaphors. I suppose that’s because we have been in contact with the earth throughout human history and that connection has shaped many of our expressions.

It has also given us an innate understanding of how to help things grow and flourish in all areas of our lives, and the things that need weeding out if our relationships are to continue to provide nourishment and beauty year after year.

Continue reading
FREE DOWNLOAD - Get it now.

How to be more Resilient

Get my super-helpful guide '9 Steps to Resilience' absolutely FREE, when you subscribe to my newsletter.

Understand the steps to resilience and you can develop the ability to cope with problems and setbacks with less stress and more confidence.
close-link
%d bloggers like this: