Listening is a generative act of giving. It is an act of respect. It is an act of care. It is an act of love. The impact of listening has multiple effects both on us as the listener and on the speaker.
Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand
– Karl A. Menninger
When we engage in the act of listening at different levels (as referred to in my latest book, The Listening Coach) the outcomes and benefits can include:
What listening enables for us:
1. Self-Listening – helps us make sense of what we are saying to ourselves, respecting our heart, mind, and body.
2. Pretend Listening – raises our awareness to when we fall into the bad habit and are not really listening.
3. Factual Listening – helps us to learn more information, gain new knowledge, make decisions, and discern how we behave.
4. Empathetic Listening – enables us to understand one another, show how much we care, and discover new perspectives.
5. Generative Listening – develops our compassion, generates the best thoughts, ideas, and feelings in another, connects us at a deeper level and enhances our communication.
Listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give another as well as ourselves.
What listening enables for others:
From hosting my latest 30-Day Listening to Liberate Challenge, participants expressed their results of learning, understanding, and sustaining a practice of generative listening by enabling:
- Deeper more focused interactions with others enabling greater understanding and respect.
- Respecting others through not interrupting and finishing their sentences.
- Asking better questions to free the mind of another.
- Harnessing building trust, deepening connection, and improving relationships.
- Feeling safer listening to and sharing more difficult thoughts or subjects.
- More empathy, greater understanding, more acceptance.
- Feeling relaxed, giving the listener space to think and learning more about others.
- The ability to engage others by asking open-ended questions and showing I care about you and what you have to share,
- Freeing my mind and clearing my thoughts to open up to receive the information/communication.
- Becoming more patient with people. Learning more about my children’s days and insights. To change my own perspective on others with self-talk.
- Asking questions to liberate others. Not feeling the need to insert my own thoughts (a more easeful experience for all), and cultural awareness.
- Learning to wait before I speak.
- Appreciating the other person’s point of view without making assumptions about them or myself.
- Patience, comfortability with silence, and communication.
- Learning more about myself and others thanks to deeper connection.
- Building stronger relationships through generative listening.
- Feeling grateful everyday.
Trust is earned in the smallest of moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds, or even highly visible actions, but through paying attention, listening and gestures of genuine care and connection – Brene Brown
When we choose to offer the gift of generative listening, we enable others to move from being stuck to being unstuck, being limited to being liberated, being reserved to being resourceful.
Imagine a culture where you felt listened to, free from judgement, every day enabling you to feel safe, calm, respected, and appreciated? Imagine having deeper connections, improved communication, and stronger relationships? This is the world I imagine and we can all generate this through our capacity and capability to listen first.
When two or more human beings choose to listen generatively in equal turns, we deepen our relationship, we generate possibilities, and we accomplish results unlike before. When we listen with empathy, we show how much we care. When people feel cared for, they contribute the best of themselves.
Thank you for listening!