By adopting the following listening ‘components’ you will improve your listening skills. However, if you are ‘doing’ listening rather than ‘being’ listening, the speaker will notice and the connection will not be of the same depth or quality. Simply being truly present with the speaker and not saying anything will be better for them than just doing what I have written here.
Before the conversation begins, seek to put aside all of your own ‘stuff’. Ask yourself, is there is anything that you feel could or would distract you, and ideally seek to address it before starting?
Set your Intention before the conversation
Intend to be fully present and in the moment with the speaker. Always give your full attention and allow them to speak, uninterrupted and without judgement. Seek to be curious about what they may say, and be genuinely interested in all that they do say.
Meeting space or environment
Wherever possible choose or create a physical space to meet that shows that you care about the speaker and that they matter, one that enables them to relax and be themselves. Also, as you have no idea what may arise from the speaker, be mindful of where you meet.
Setting the scene
Once all of the practicalities and pleasantries have been completed, now is the time to explain that your role will be to pay attention to them and allow them the time and space to say what they wish to say. Tell them that you will not be interrupting them, and you will be silent for a lot of the time. Through your asking one or two specific questions they will be able to drop deeper into their thinking, perhaps deeper than they have ever gone previously.