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Mindful Listening

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Mindful Listening

 

Have you ever had the experience of listening to someone, only to realize you do not remember what they said? Or maybe you were talking with someone and realized they were distracted and not listening?

Listening is an essential element of communication, and one that is neglected the  most. The average person only remembers 25% of what is said right after the conversation, according to research.

Most people do not like being ignored and will come away from that interaction with a negative reaction. On the other hand, the experience of being heard and understood is empowering; people thrive under these conditions.

Using the concept of mindfulness to improve your listening is a brilliant way to deepen your understanding and awareness while helping the other person, the speaker, feel understood.

Mindfulness is the deliberate focus of your attention on the present moment, withholding judgement and reaction. It is a neutral observation.

Mindful listening is focusing on the person you are listening to, without interruption, distraction and judgement.

 

Tips to Listen Mindfully:

1.Eliminate all devices when listening.

Put all the screens out of sight – this means removing devices from the desk or table. Research has found this is distracting. Set up technology free zones in your office, at meals, during meetings.

2. Neutralize surroundings.

Have the conversation in a quiet, distraction free zone, where you have privacy.

3. Quiet your internal mental chatter.

Prepare your mind to be fully present. If you are rushed, it is not the best time for the conversation. Reschedule it.

We listen 3 times faster than we speak so it is easy to think ahead and feel like you know what they are going to say.

Resist. Ask the speaker to express their ideas while you withhold judgement or reaction.

Benefits of Mindful Listening

  • Improve memory of conversation.
  • Relax during interactions, less pressure.
  • Sustain their attention, taking in more of the speaker’s message.
  • Able to self regulate, avoiding potential triggers from conversation.
  • More meaningful interactions.

Barriers to Mindful Listening

  • Distractions including one’s internal chatter, reactions, judgement.
  • Self-interest, making it difficult to focus on the speaker.
  • Autopilot. Going through the motions and not being tuned in to recognize your internal chatter and commentary interfering with hearing what the speaker is trying to say.

 

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