Listening is all about connecting. If we think about connecting in general one thing that comes to mind is signal strength, on your wireless network or your phone for example. “How many bars do you have?” We’ve all heard and asked that question many times. It refers, of course, to the strength of your phone’s connection to a nearby tower. For our purposes that question refers to how strong is your connection to the people around you?
Your Connection Strength
I’m not a fast reader. In fact, I’m a pretty slow and cumbersome reader which is frustrating because I love to read. Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to read a book about speed reading. I don’t remember the name of the book. Maybe that’s because it didn’t help me read any faster, but one testimonial in the book caught my attention. One person who had mastered the skill of speed reading described what it was like for them to read a novel at the speed they had achieved. They said it was like reading at the speed of thought so that they were drawn into the book and felt as though they were actually experiencing the scenes and events as they were being described.
That’s the kind of connection I’m talking about having with the people in your life. As you listen to (connect with) them you are drawn into their story and it’s as though you are actually experiencing the scene and/or event they are describing through their eyes. That’s when listening achieves super-power status, when you begin to see the world through someone else’s eyes.
What if you were able to experience the day with your spouse or friend while they told you about it? What if you could actually see yourself as your boss sees you during your annual evaluation? Pick someone important to you. How would your world change if you could actually see through their eyes, walk in their shoes, for awhile? How would their world change? How would the whole world change if everyone could do that?
Another analogy I like to use when talking about listening is to say that “Listening is a Full Contact Sport.” Excellent listening involves all of you, your whole body. Our hearing impaired colleagues and family members understand this better than those with full hearing. “Listening” is not just about what we pick up with our ears.
In coming posts we will focus on different dimensions of listening associated with different parts of your body. We’ll talk about listening with our ears, of course. But, we’ll also talk about listening with our eyes and with our mouths (yes, I said “Mouths”). We’ll talk about listening with our heart, our gut, our brain, and even our hands and feet. Developing skills related to each of these dimensions will greatly improve your connection strength as you develop your super power.
Before those posts, we will talk about some of the bad habits that most often cause static in our connections or disconnect us completely. Then we’ll spend some time on “skill drills” that will hone that super-power listening and make it a habit.Watch for these posts.
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