How to connect with others by being listened to
Recently I’ve had a couple of coaching clients say to me, “I feel really vulnerable doing all the talking for so long.” We’re 30 minutes into an hour-long session and it is truly a space where it is all about them…in the best sense.
In a world where there is a lot of talking at, not talking with, what a perplexing paradox. The examples are endless, right?
- Political pundits, debates, etc. etc. etc.
- Older folks preaching at younger folks
- Young whipper snappers preaching at old geezers
- Social media
- Workplace “trainings”
- Social service staff telling clients what to do
- Managers with employees and vice versa
- Volunteer managers with volunteers
True listening and talking about heartfelt feelings requires that our hearts be open — and nothing else. It is rather a vulnerable position for both the talker and the listener. As I reflected more on their thoughts, I realized that I, too, was sometimes uncomfortable being truly listened to for a long amount of time.
Something changes when we connect.
This is what the world needs, however: individuals who connect over meaningful matters in a meaningful way. Listening is a key ingredient.
Here are some tips to ensure that listening is happening:
- The listener has more statements that end in question marks than periods.
- There are silences in between statements. No one is rushing to fill them.
- The space between you has some reverence and time seems to slow down.
- Tissues may be needed.
- Cell phones/digital devices are not involved, unless there is actual talking happening.
- Words are spoken slowly and chosen with care.
- Advice is not given.
- All individuals share and listen with reciprocity.
- You walk away feeling refreshed — not burdened.
This is a place I need to grow too. What are you tips for inviting someone to listen to you when it is needed?