The Listener

“I have these ideas rattling around in my head and sometimes find them difficult to articulate and get out.”

“I feel we are just saying what is expected to be said here, there does not appear to be any original thinking taking place.”

“We are not listening, we interrupt and speak over each other, yet all we really want is to be heard.”

The challenge

For many years I have found myself giving my attention and deeply listening to people.  Listening as they shared their story, challenges, frustrations, ideas, and joys.  Through that listening, I have felt the connection move from being head centred to heart centred.

I have sat with them quietly and attentively, giving them the time to think, to open up and allowing whatever arises to be vocalised and truly heard.

“When we all think alike, no one thinks very much”  Albert Einstein

Of the four modes of communication, why is the mode we use most of the time – listening, the one in which we are least formally trained or skilled at doing?

Mode of Communication

Formal Years of Training

Percentage of Time Used


12 years

9 %


6-8 years

16 %


1-2 years

30 %


0 – few hours

45 %

Percentage of Communication

How many times have we assumed we know what the other person is going to say, been thinking what we are going to say next, or just listening for any pause in the conversation so that we can jump in and speak?

We are living in the most challenging yet exciting of times.  We have amazing technology that enables us to connect to pretty much anyone we wish, yet why are we are feeling more disconnected than ever?  We are constantly running after external, material gains, rather than stopping, thinking, spending time with loved ones or doing things that matter.

Instead, we hide behind our screens, constantly checking the next email or status update and replying with something interesting from our life, carefully constructed and edited.  Why do we yearn for more connection, yet shun the chance to truly connect?

Sadly, we have forgotten how to truly connect, to pay attention and to really listen.  We have no need to open up, be vulnerable, show our true selves any more, which would be OK, well sort of, if it were not for our deeper, real yearning to connect and to be heard.

“How can I know what I think until I hear myself speak?”  Charles Handy, Author of The Empty Raincoat

My gift

Have you noticed that when walking our path, we get glimpses of what matters most for us, where we make a difference, (however small), what are our gifts, our contribution if you like, to make this world a better place for our children and their children.

We are here for a very short period of time, and I feel that when we finally get to know our gift, we owe it to ourselves to share it with others and to be of service.  Even though I have known it for some time, albeit at some deep level, that I am a listener, I have only recently been able to truly hear my own words.

Colin helped me make an important decision about a problem I was having.  He has a very unusual style – he listens.  Chris Skinner – Sales Director

Conversations with Colin are thought provoking and free-ranging.  His style is gentle but questioning and he is helpful in guiding you to reach your own conclusions.  Anne Compton – Director  – BWG&G Chamber of Commerce

The Listener

I provide a safe space, for you to just be yourself, to allow whatever arises to be spoken, and for it to be received openly, without judgement.  It could be a chance to explore new ideas, deepen your thinking, articulate your ambitions.  Alternatively, you may choose to sit in silence, a chance to stop, draw breath and recharge, or to share some of your feelings about something, a person, an event.

Would you value a space to discover your own thinking and ideas and know without question, that you have been truly heard?

To be interrupted is not good.  To get lucky and not be interrupted is better.  But to know you will not be interrupted allows you to truly think for yourself.  Nancy Kline – Author of Time to Think

The experience of being truly heard is unusual for many, for some being the first time this has ever happened.  It results in your thinking better for yourself.  This is a real connection, and afterwards many find it liberating, inspiring, energising and maybe even life changing.

Colin has a rare talent.  When you are talking he listens actively rather than plans what to say next.  It is said that you can tell the intelligence of a person by what they ask, not what they answer.  On that basis Colin is at Mensa-level.  Mark Walmsley – Commercial Director at Blue Latitude

The Listener – services

  • One to one listening sessions
  • Listening and independent thinking development

Colin has a unique combination of skills.  His business skills complement his softer skills of empathy, guidance and listening.  As a man of deep integrity I trust his interest and support as both authentic at the same time as being highly motivational.  Wendy Addison – Creator and owner at SpeakOut-SpeakUp

2 Responses to The Listener

  1. Pingback: Epsiode 41 - Colin Smith. - Garry Turner Interpersonal Catalyst

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