Deep listening is the gift of giving our undivided attention. It involves listening beyond the words to the emotion, the meaning, the essence of what is being communicated. It is listening with our whole body and hearing what the other may be feeling, especially when they are unable to speak the words aloud.
Unfortunately, deep listening is rare, yet so very needed in our world. Too often we are multi-tasking in our brain – thinking about what we’ll say next or what is on our to-do list when we are pretending to listen to the child or parent or colleague or friend in front of us.
Though rare, you know when someone is deeply listening to you! And, it is a skill everyone can develop. To enhance the power and impact of your listening, try this one simple idea:
Shine the spotlight over there!
A well-known expression goes like this: What you focus on expands. Now, imagine there is a listening spotlight that you habitually shine on your own thoughts. In this way, while outwardly focused on the other person, inwardly, that light is expanding your thinking rather than expanding your ability to receive what the other person is communicating. Experiment today. In each conversation, begin by pausing, turning on the spotlight, and pointing it in the direction of the one who needs your listening ear.
What do you hear when your focus is directed on them?
What do you notice in your responses?
What is the impact of your deeper listening?