Listening. Listening. Listening.
A few years ago (well, 2014), I wrote a blog post about listening – but more from a musician’s perspective (the link is at the bottom of this post if you want).
But lately, I’ve been considering how speaking and listening are aligned. And how we are often so excited to speak that we aren’t even listening to the person in front of us.
I caught myself the other day listening to an audio book, and yet my mind was wandering with the day’s tasks. All while I was walking the dog! I had walked for at least 10 minutes before realizing that I had completely tuned out what I was listening to.
We have all let our minds wander when listening to someone speak, and it has a lot to do with being present in the HERE and NOW. We are, effectively, time-travelling – worrying about what happened in the past, or how much you’ll enjoy that chocolate mocha Christmas beverage special in an hour’s time.
We have all let our minds wander when listening to someone speak, and it has a lot to do with (not)
being present in the HERE and NOW.
This holiday season, there are plenty of opportunities to socialize and to speak, but I want to ask you to take special care to listen this season. As the saying goes, there’s a reason you’re given one mouth and two ears!
So, in the interest of many activities we all have, I’ve kept this blog post short, with three tips to tune in and listen that will also develop your speaking and conversation skills.
- Listen with more than your ears – try to tune in and hear what the person is saying, and perhaps even tune into what they are NOT saying. Learn to sense when someone might be using extensive talking as a ‘shield’ to protect from true connection.
- Make eye contact regularly while you listen. Not the creepy, stalker-type eye contact, but contact that lets the speaker know you are connecting with them.
- If you catch your attention wandering, focus on a specific feature of that person’s appearance. Alternate between eye contact and admiring an accessory (which could then also become a conversation piece). Use that piece as a focus so you can listen more attentively to their words.
And that’s it – have a beautiful holiday season, no matter what and where you celebrate. Hug your loved ones close and connect with them through the beauty of authentic and connected listening.
See you next in 2018!
Click here to read my first blog about listening.
Jen Lang, Voice and Communications Coach