Are you in listen-only mode?

Jan 12, 2016 | Workplace Communication

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.Man praying

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?

Related Posts

How to Lead Through a Crisis with Whynde Kuehn

How to Lead Through a Crisis with Whynde Kuehn

Whynde Kuehne, founder and managing director of S2E Transformation Inc., teaches us how to lead through a crisis from her firsthand experience. She was having a normal, fabulous day when she receives a call from the big boss saying her boss was out immediately and she’s now in charge of a 100-person team. In a matter of days she came up with a way forward for the entire team. Listen in for her advice on leading through a hot mess.

read more
How to Overcome Mistakes at Work with Jeff Ton

How to Overcome Mistakes at Work with Jeff Ton

Jeff Ton has turned his successful CIO career into coaching and consulting for contemporary IT leaders. His credibility is built on the many fires he’s put out and the teams he’s led through many transformations: Y2K, cloud computing, digital transformation. In this episode, he shares how he got the opportunity to practice empathy and not just a CYA move.

read more