Listening From the Heart

Bad listeners hear themselves. Average listeners hear the words. Good listeners hear the issues. Great listeners hear the heart.

Do you listen in fragments, on autopilot or with intentionality, purpose and focus?

The gift of attentiveness is among the most valuable gifts we can give to others, personally and professionally. Like breathing is to the body, listening is to relationships. So it goes without saying that our attentiveness to others is the catalyst that breathes success into our social and business interactions. Unfortunately, quality listening is always in jeopardy due to urgency, distractions and its number one adversary – multi-tasking in conversations. Being partially in a conversation and partially elsewhere generally adds up to a complete relational disconnect. In fact, anything less than total focus in conversation is the beginning of the end of that interaction or worse… the relationship.

People get it when we are distracted while listening no matter how we try to disguise it. So rather than listening on the surface, our commitment to hear past any static, straight into the heart of the individual becomes a social grace that will bring intense richness to relationships. Attending in this rare and caring manner is practiced by few as it demands focus and an all out assault on “autopilot or fragmented”listening. But the rewards of doing so are nothing short of extraordinary. Listening with intentionality draws out the best in people conversationally and makes way for lasting relationships that have amazing value. To block out all distractions and listen beyond the words is to build in trust and intimacy, and it will position you as a friend and leader to everyone you meet.

Here’s listening defined in its purest form: Listening is focused eye contact – respect. It is hearing, considering, and meditating on every word spoken – wisdom. It is scanning between the words to hear that which the other might be too uncomfortable to say – insight. It is not drifting, but staying in tune, patiently waiting for the other to finish before speaking – intelligence. It is asking for clarification and understanding: Example: “What I’m hearing you say is” or “tell me more.” – curiosity. Listening is not thinking of what you will say next, but responding to what is said – productivity. It is acknowledging the other has had a different upbringing, different influences and is in need of being communicated to in a way that works for them, – sensitivity. This is the beginning of relationship, this is the acceleration of your brand. And by the way, if you’re not doing all of this, you are NOT really listening. Hearing is a function of the senses, listening is a commitment of the heart. Listen from the heart today.

Casey Williams