Believe it or not, listening is not as easy as it sounds. Listening is all about drawing in the white canvas of our brain, the other's story. Not our story, their story. With their colors and their nuances, and if we allow our own thoughts to interfere in that painting, we are not listening anymore.
Listening is all about emptying our brains, opening our ears and closing our mouths. It’s about hearing to understand and not necessarily to agree. We actually don’t need to agree. We must though be able to understand what the other is seeing and feeling, and why. That is what listening is all about.
Here are some questions/sentences you may use to help you with this listening art:
Tell me about…
I’d like to hear more about…
Would you like to tell me about…?
I’m all ears.
What do you mean by…? (Concepts are not the same all across. “Horrible” for example, can mean one thing to me, and another quite different to someone else. Remember, you are trying to draw their picture in your brain. Not your picture, theirs.)
Would you give me an example of that, please?
Would you explain this further to me, please?
I’m not sure I understand…
Every “stroke” that you make on the canvas of your brain has to be a reflection of what your interlocutor is saying.
From what you’ve said I understand that….and that you are feeling….and you need….. Is this correct? (Remember, you don’t have to agree).
Thank you for sharing with me.
Is there anything I can do to help you?
I’m here for you if you feel like sharing again.
Listening is an art. A simple and delicate one. We all can listen and when we do, magic happens. Our interlocutor feels safe, relieved, seen and respected (yes, even when we don’t agree with them because we are not going to judge them), our relationship with them strengthens and becomes healthier.