When was the last time you listened with your eyes?
Today, be present. Let the person be heard. Let go of your reactions and distractions. Put down the phone.
Listen without judgment, criticism or interruption.
That's mindful listening. That's empathy.
Then, listen with empathy to that inner voice of yours. It's speaking to you and many times you don't listen!
What's it saying to you?
Mine is saying, "Get away from the computer and go have fun!"
Gotta love that inner voice!
Wondering how to practice mindful listening at work? See below for a great exercise to do with your team...
How to Listen Mindfully
Mindful listening is a way of listening without judgment, criticism or interruption, while being aware of internal thoughts and reactions that may get in the way of people communicating with you effectively.
When you listen mindfully:
You are fully present
You can absorb the speaker's whole message
He/she feels heard and respected
You cultivate empathy
You let go of your reactions and other distractions
When you listen mindfully, your focus should be on the person you are listening to, without distractions.
Clear your area: Workplaces are full of distractions like phones, computers, printers, and electronic devices. Mute your devices.
Give yourself time: Take a minute or two to clear your mind before you meet with someone. Practice a few relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, before the conversation.
Practice straight mindfulness: when you empty your mind of "clutter," you can make room for other people's points of view.
Listening to your own "cues"
Our cues are the thoughts, feelings and physical reactions we have when we feel anxious or angry, and they can block out ideas and perspectives that we're uncomfortable with. Mindful listening can help us to be more aware of our cues, and allow us to choose not to let them block communication.
Do you feel the urge to share your own, possibly impressive story?
Do you feel the urge to offer advice?
What emotions are you experiencing?
Are you “trying” to do anything? Are you trying to get them to like you or trying to do the exercise right?
Are you making any assumptions?
Mindful listening creates empathy, one of the most important aspects of leadership in a company. We often see the world through the lens of our own experiences, personality and beliefs. When you're empathic, you can understand a situation from someone else's point of view. For example, you can validate his/her perspective by acknowledging her opinion. It does not mean you have to agree with them, just that you accept they have a different view of a situation from you. When you’re empathetic, you are open and receptive to others’ ideas.