Warning: May Cause Real Communication!

Love, Self

3 Secret Tips you have to know about on how to listen so he'll talk and how to talk so she'll listen

Or how to listen so he'll talk and how to talk so she'll listen.

Listening intently to another person may just be the most amazing gift you can offer. I used to work on the 24/7 suicide crisis line in France and we were trained in Carl Rogers non-directive empathetic listening skills. When a call would come in, I would greet the caller with, "Hello, SOS Amitié." And wait for the person to speak up. Sometimes it would take a rather long moment, moments in which hesitations and silences give a lot of information to the intuitive listener. When they would speak, I was totally focused on them. I would not interrupt, offer advice or suggest any course of action. Through open ended questions, I would guide the caller to opening their own doors to their own inner solutions.  And sometimes, they would just go on in a monologue for 20 minutes and all I would do was nod my head or give them a hmmmm, and leave them more space. The end of the call always went something like this, “I feel so much better. Thank you for everything you said to me!”  Most of the time, all I said was hello and good-bye.

How would you define this kind of communication?

It’s not really a full-blown conversation, is it? It’s more like offering what I call “The Gift of Gab” to another person. They get to gab and you get to generously listen. I know how challenging this can be for both men and women!

It's no secret that one of the big relationship challenges are the different communication styles between men and women,  As women, we often think out loud, start a story from the Garden of Eden and take a century to get to the point, weaving around through the entire history of the world in what we call goddess bonding, lingering over coffee, Girls Night Out or Stitch and Bitch. We talk nearly non-stop and we don’t always notice or get it when some people’s eyes glaze over with way too much information. Can you relate?

Men just want to bottom line it, get to the point, answer one question at a time and have time to mull over the answer rather than blurting it out. This will be discussed in another blog, but for the moment, ladies, remember not to stack your questions and count to 30 before you jump in with an impatient, "Did you hear my question?"

But back to active listening basics. When we really have something to share, both men and women could often use some real listening skills.  My example was intuitive listening, the deepest and most valuable kind of listening you will master. Listening at this level allows you to hear not only what is spoken, but what isn’t, to hear what is said between the words and sense the energy from the silence, the intonation, or the liveliness of the other person. When you listen at this level, you are able to connect at a very deep level with the speaker, engage with them, shift their energy and inspire them to confidence and action.

This is a profound experience and it’s in these moments where true rapport and trust is established, the foundation of all your relationships. This enables a buy-in, the resolution of conflict and real potential for creating, cultivating and communicating.

To understand this level, let’s first take a look at the other two levels of listening you need to be aware of.

1. Subjective listening is based on the listener’s agenda or needs. Whatever is said is perceived through the experience and filter of the listener who often uses the speaker’s words to trampoline into his own story. I call this one-up-man ship-conversation and it’s used by people who control and certainly don’t really listen. If you’re guilty of this, then now is the time to forgive yourself and pledge to change.
Here's an example – Your friend is upset and angry that her adult son still has not contacted her to thank her for the birthday present she thoughtfully selected, purchased and sent through Amazon. She knows it’s arrived.

Subjective listening  sounds like this.

Speaker – I’m really upset that Jeff hasn’t contacted me. It’s insensitive and next Christmas I may not send anything to him.
Listener -- Well, hey my kids never let me know when the check or gift has arrived, and I’m just used to it. Kids will be kids.
Yuck how does that feel?

2. Objective listening –   is completely focused on the speaker without thoughts about how the information relates to him or her personally. It’s a good start and can vastly improve communication even if it doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.

Objective listening sounds like this.

Speaker – I’m really upset that Jeff hasn’t contacted me. It’s insensitive and next time I may not send anything to him.
Listener – It’s really rough when your kids don’t thank you soon enough. It happens.

3. Intuitive listening – is about hearing the sensory elements of what is being said and intuitively connecting with the speaker. It’s about hearing between the lines.

Intuitive listening sounds like this.

Speaker – I’m really upset that Jeff hasn’t contacted me. It’s insensitive and next time I may not send anything to him.
Listener – It sounds like you’re hurt and disappointed after taking the time to get him a gift and not hearing from him at all. And this holiday his hard for you, too, since you’re so far away from your kids and won’t be seeing them this year. It sounds like you could really use some TLC. Would you like a big hug? Then be quiet. Be still. Trust that you don't need to fill in the silent gaps in a conversation.

Intuitive listening is putting words to the speaker’s feelings. It’s walking in their shoes and being completely focused on their experience and what they need.

If you can just be quiet and listen without interrupting, they will open up and tell you more than you could ever imagine. It’s really about giving the speaker the space to open up, without judging, suggesting, reminding, interrogating, giving advice or sharing your point of view.

I invite you to share the "Gift Of Gab" next time you have someone who is asking to really be listened to and heard. Once you begin to experience that peaceful feeling of not providing the answers, of applied silent pauses that do not need to be filled up you won't go back to your old habits.

Cultivating Communication starts with Cultivating Active Listening Skills. In your next conversation, think about how you would like to be listened to. Which listening style are you going to use from now on? We'd love to hear how this works for all of you, so please share your comments below and questions below. If you want more information, you can also download Cultivating Communication.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.