Good evening. Tonight we’re going to talk about listening. That fine art of paying attention to what somebody else is saying and not what’s going on inside your brain. So you’ve all heard the saying, two ears, one mouth, use it in that ratio. And you know what? Not many people pay attention to that. We all know it, but our mouths tend to run away with us a lot. A lot, a lot, a lot. So there’s a great song, Within the Sounds of Silence. I shall post a video to an amazing ice skating routine to that song. But that’s an aside. Silence is important in listening. It’s golden rule number one. Silencio. Unless there is an opportunity or something really valid for you to actually open your mouth with, you just need to be present with what they’re saying, listening with your ears and listening with your eyes. But I’ll get to that in a second.
So when we talk about meditation, you’re alone with your thoughts. So you can either do silent meditations. You can do guided meditations. There’s all sorts of ways to do it, but it’s about being alone with your thoughts. I look at listening as the meditation you do with someone else. You’re alone, you’re silent, but with their thoughts. See what I’m saying. But it’s that same, that’s all that’s going on. You’re not thinking about your shopping list. You’re not thinking about your to do’s. You’re not thinking about, “Oh God, I saw the best swimsuit on Instagram. I should go buy it.” You’re not thinking about any of that stuff. You’re really, really paying attention to what’s going on for the other person. And I meet this in every situation.
This could be talking to your children, talking to a friend. This could be in a coaching situation. This can be at a work situation. Hell, this can be at the bar on a Friday night when someone’s decided to tell you their life story. Be respectful and listen, or run away really quickly in that scenario, but that’s a whole other live. So a few of the things I want to say about listening is, yes, one, it’s about listening with these, but it’s also about paying attention to their nonverbal communication. So what are their eyes doing? What are their mannerisms doing? How are they standing? Are they hunched? Are they afraid? And you can feel those things regardless of whether your kinesthetic or auditory, whatever your learning style is, everyone can still feel that nonverbal communication and it is really important when you’re listening to what someone’s saying and you’re trying to really understand what they’re trying to get across.
So it’s about you just still, silence. You can mirror their body language a little bit if you think it’s going to be better for the rapport in this situation. And if you go back ages, there’s a good live on rapport. So you can go to samanthaleith.com and have a little Google. Why do I do the hand… The mannerisms! Why I do it? Well I do everything. That’s hilarious, isn’t it? And you can have a look at that because rapport is really important in a truly good listening situation, rapport is really important.
So it’s about that connection. You want to make eye contact when you’re listening to somebody. Now, if you’re listening to somebody on the telephono, you obviously can’t make eye contact with them unless you’re doing Face Time, so what I want you to do is stop looking at anything else. And that’s not walk down the street with your eyes closed, bumping into people. But stop doing that, searching, that looking or reading or scanning, whatever it is you’re doing. Be respectful of the person you’re listening to and stop that. And I apologize to anyone who doesn’t feel I’ve ever paid them a hundred percent attention in a listening situation. Why I’m talking about this today is I caught myself up on this, this afternoon of being on the phone with someone and not being completely present. And if this person is watching that live. I’m sorry. Really sorry. Afterwards I was, “Man, I just didn’t…” I still had that little bit of distraction going on, and that’s not good enough. It’s really not good enough.
So you’ve got to be present. [inaudible 00:04:43] that. Be completely present and attentive. You want to keep an open mind when you’re listening to somebody. So put judgey mix, judge, judge pants away and keep an open mind when you listen to somebody because they could be telling you something that’s really important to them. And if you look at it with the lens of judgment, that’s going to put up a barrier. It’s going to stop them sharing anymore. And it can lead to some really uncomfortable crap. We all get judgmental. If you are going to sit here and tell me, “No, I never judge anybody.” I call bull beep. Okay. Everybody does. And it’s about controlling how you judge and working out why you’re judging someone. Because most of the time, again, I’ve done another live on it. Most of the time when you’re judging somebody about something, it’s because something is hitting you about that situation or that person or what they’re doing that’s making you go, ah, and you can recognize it in yourself. So we want to keep that away when we’re really, truly listening.
Want to not interrupt? Oh my gosh, not interrupt. Don’t interrupt. If they get halfway through a sentence and they’re saying whatever it is, don’t interrupt. Let them finish. Let them finish. And when there’s a space, yes, you can come in. However, when you’re coming in, especially if you’re going to as a question, you can ask questions, but make sure it’s really facilitative. That’s a tricky word, not directive. So don’t be asking them a question or leading them in a way that you want them to go.
Ask them something or say something that’s going to help enable them to bring more out about what they wanted to talk about. Because if they want to share more, they will come out with more. And if you keep that open facilitation going, that will be easier for them in a more comfortable situation. And they may share more and stuff that’s important to them. So be facil… I can never say the word, facilitative, not directive. It’s a tough one. I have to watch that one myself, I’ve got to say. Because my natural instinct is to be more of a mentor coachy kind of way, so if I can see a problem for someone, I want to help them fix it really quickly. So I want to go… So I need to go… Listen more and try and help them discover things or get to wherever they want to go.
The other one I talked about is paying attention to what’s not said, which has all that physicality. Their body language, the spaces in the words that they’re saying. The words they’re not saying. Quite often someone can be saying something and you know that just by the way they’re saying it, that they mean the opposite. They mean the opposite.
Above all, when you’re listening to anybody, and I think this is the number one important rule, is just… And I’ve said it before but I’m going to say it again, because I think it’s the most important one. Is be present. Be present, be present, be present. So literally if someone’s having a deep and meaningful with you, I want you to think about it like it’s a joint meditation and you are sitting in silence. You’ve emptied the crap out of your brain from your day and you are listening to their thoughts. What they want to say, what they need to get out. Because that can be the greatest gift you give someone. Listening, purely listening to them can be the greatest gift you ever give someone.
So they’re my tips on listening. And you know who you are, who I wasn’t paying enough attention to this afternoon on the phone. So I am sorry, but I pulled myself on it. Pay attention people and whoever you’re talking to tonight, tomorrow, your kids, your husband, your partner, your boss at work, a junior at work, a client. Make sure this is empty when you’re talking to them, you’re present, you’re paying attention and you’re helping them get out what they need to get out. Okay. Bye. See you tomorrow.