Most of us think we understand what excellent listening is about. I mean, you can see when it’s happening, right? Well, a lot of what makes for excellent listening happens beneath the surface and in between the words. It has to do with time. Good listeners use space. Outstanding listeners create and inspire space.
Space, you say? You mean, like the large, three-dimensional area in which objects and events occur and have relevant position and direction to one another; the endless expanse; the mysterious regions of the infinite?
No, excellent listeners create a different kind of space.
- Excellent listeners create space for the relationship to bond.
Phenomenal listeners know that the key thing in listening is the connection with the other person – giving the space to have that connection is where the spell happens. Listening is a present and the person being supported and recognized for who they are can come forward – they can resolve their problems, talk themselves through problems, reach resolutions… in that space is where everything happens.
- Excellent listeners make space to listen to themselves (and they trust what they hear).
Exceptional listeners know that the first person we need to listen to is ourselves. This doesn’t happen by chance for many people – there are too many diversions and demands on our attention and time. So, outstanding listeners make that space – consciously. They deliberately set aside time to listen to themselves. This might be during their daily exercise, or devoted meditation time, or quiet time in the car on the way to work. We need to listen to ourselves before we can truly and genuinely do this for another person.
- Excellent listeners inspire others to make space.
When you make the person you are talking with the focus of your full attention, you capture the entire message they are conveying. If you are listening past facts and words – for feeling, for intention, for connection, for what is unspoken- then you are helping that person to open into the space inside themselves. Space where their inner wisdom continues.
How much space are you planning?