Assumptions not beliefs
Beliefs are personal and have been part of the speaker’s past conditioning and are therefore harder to shift. Assumptions, on the other hand, can be likened to beliefs, but assumptions can be explored more easily and dropped if it feels right for the speaker to do so.
Avoid distracting the speaker
Any time you shift your attention away from the speaker, they will notice and it will stop or alter their thinking.
Watch out for
- Note taking – the speaker might think, “What have I said that they want to write down?”
- Looking at your watch – “Am I talking too much, are they bored?”
- Your eyes not being on them – “Is there something more interesting, have they stopped listening?”
- Negative sounds, such as tutting, intake of breath – “Have I said something wrong?”
- Movements from your body, hands, feet, etc. – “Are they not interested in what I am saying?”
It is good to offer positive acknowledgement to the speaker, non verbally, with your eyes and your facial expressions, or through a quiet word of encouragement.
As you have little or no idea what may arise from the speaker, be sensitive that their emotions and feelings are likely to be invoked. For many speakers, this will be the first time they have felt really heard and as a consequence may find the experience unsettling. This may trigger different emotional/physical reactions and responses. As the listener, it is important that you treat all reactions and responses as neutral, i.e. neither good nor bad. How you react or respond will be picked up by the speaker, and therefore can make or break the conversation.
At the end of the conversation, take a moment to share what you appreciate about the speaker. There are many things that could be appreciated, such as their courage to share what they have shared, the strength they are showing, their resilience, and so on. One suggestion is to take a deep breath, look them in the eyes and say the one or two things that arise for you that you appreciate about them at that moment.
Through this positive experience speakers will feel valued, heard, accepted, validated, acknowledged and appreciated.
I hope that you have enjoyed these six posts and found them interesting and helpful. If you wish to experience the feeling of being heard, take your thinking to a new level, or to enhance your listening skills, it would be great to hear from you. Just call me on 07939-013651 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.