Are you a good listener? Or are you simply listening to respond, to get in your five cents of wisdom?
Listening to respond and interrupting another are diehard habits. Ask my husband. He’ll agree.
According to Nancy Kline, founder of Time to Think™, there is a BIG difference between listening to ignite fresh and courageous thinking versus listening to respond.
Listening to respond or interrupting simply signals that we are more important and that we know best. This is not a great approach when engaging with clients, colleagues, family, and friends.
The good news is that we can unlearn the habit of giving advice and interrupting.
So how do we strengthen the muscle of becoming a better listener?
Conscious listening starts with empathy. According to Theresa Wiseman, Nursing scholar, the four main attributes for listening with empathy are:
1. Seeing the world as others see it.
2. Being non-judgmental.
3. Recognizing emotion in others.
4. Communicating back the emotion you see.
Journal of Advanced Nursing, 1996.
Brene Brown defines empathy as a skill and so is listening with undivided attention.
To listen with undivided attention, Nancy Kline talks about managing three streams of attention. I call it listening with 300% attention. As you listen, become aware of the following:
1. Keep your attention 100% on the content of what your friend or colleague is telling you.
2. Have your attention on your content. Meaning, where exactly is your attention going? Is it still on the speaker’s content or do you already have a solution at hand? Are you perhaps thinking about what’s for supper or your upcoming dentist appointment?
3. Who are you being while you are listening to your friend? Are you being the 10 Components or Behaviours identified by Nancy Kline that impact the quality of thinking in another?
I offer workshops where I teach coaches and leaders the art of listening as an act of creation. I also empower South African entrepreneurs with conscious thinking and listening skills so that they become more deliberate in creating opportunities. For more information, please visit my website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.