Without Listening There is No ConnectionOct 27, 2023
Listening is so important. When someone doesn't listen, you don't feel like you're even there, or at least you don't feel like you're in the relationship. Without listening, there is no connection. And that's what's so important because everything thrives on being understood.
When we feel understood, then we start to feel safe. And when we start to feel safe and cared for, the entire system begins to open up. It begins to move towards trust. If we don't feel like somebody understands us, it's really difficult to trust.
This thing we call deep listening is key. You don't understand somebody when you understand them. You understand somebody when they understand that you understand, because then you've closed the loop. They're feeling like, yeah, you got it. You understand where I'm coming from.
Most conflicts are resolved when the first step is making sure the person feels listened to and feels understood. When two people understand each other, what they're really wanting and feeling, something happens. Instead of being on opposite sides, now they're on the same side, both looking at the problem, and they've built an alliance to try to solve it.
This involves deep empathy, because empathy calms the system down. Every communication has three key pieces: the content, how the person feels about it, and the consequences. For example, if someone doesn't complete a report on time, instead of making excuses, say "It sounds like when I didn't do that, it was frustrating to you, and it's screwing up your whole day." When you get to understanding like that, you've established a connection.
Most times when problems can't be solved, it's because one side is not listening to the other. Listen, don't interrupt, don't deflect, don't blame, don't excuse. That's all about me, not you. Listening, empathy, and understanding do away with aloneness. They create connection and build trust. Once we have trust, we can solve problems.
Here are 10 tips for effective listening:
1. Focus completely on the other person when they are speaking. Don't interrupt or start talking about yourself.
2. Listening builds connection and understanding in a relationship. Without listening, there is no relationship.
3. When someone feels truly listened to, they start to feel safe and cared for. This opens them up.
4. If you don't feel the other person understands you, it will be very difficult to trust them.
5. To show you understand, restate what the person said in your own words. Confirm that you have it right.
6. In a conflict, make the first priority to listen and ensure the other person feels understood.
7. When two people really understand each other, they can work together to solve problems.
8. Empathy and reflecting back what you hear calms difficult situations.
9. Listen for the content, emotions, and consequences of what the person is saying.
10. Avoid excuses, interruptions, defensiveness and blaming. Stay focused on understanding the other person.