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’Tis the Season for Connection

December 17, 2017

Want to give someone a gift they’ll remember?

Stop, choose your focus and listen to them uncommonly well.

Think about it – how you felt the last time someone really listened to you. It fulfills a deep-rooted human need for connection. Adding end of year holiday expectations to action-packed, VUCA-shaped schedules magnifies the value of this simple, powerful gift.

So how can you prepare to listen uncommonly well? Start by noticing when you’re listening to Me, You or Us.

Listening to Me” is when you’re paying attention to your own thoughts and experience as someone else is talking. Your focus is on, “What does this mean to me?” or “What can I say next?”

Imagine a mental spotlight on yourself.

“Listening to Me” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can support self coaching and emotional intelligence – building awareness of personal triggers and the impacts of your emotional state. But if you’re not working specifically on this, it’s just your chatty brain getting in the way.

Compare that to “Listening to You” – when you’re absorbed by the speaker, working to hear meaning.

You’re paying attention to verbals and non-verbals – picking up on emotions, assumptions and values shaping the speaker’s perspective. You may notice what’s unsaid as well as said, which enables you to ask clarifying questions. After they finish you summarize to ensure you’ve heard what they meant.

You’re appreciating the other person’s perspective without necessarily trying to change it.

Imagine a mental spotlight on the speaker, to the exclusion of yourself and the outside world.

That’s the experience I’m talking about.

And you can take it to an even deeper level.

Listening to Us,” sometimes called 360 listening, extends your focus to yourself, the speaker and the spaces between you.

You’re also noticing energy shifts and the quality of the conversation. This enables you to pick up on soft signals that help you connect and interact in an even more powerful way.

The mental spotlight is on both of you and the connections you’re creating between you.

Listening uncommonly well is a timely gift you can regift year ‘round.

Wishing you a holiday and 2018 full of connections that make you feel heard, appreciated and ready to reply in kind.

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