Copyright © 1996 by Lynn D. Johnson. All rights reserved. See below for duplication information.

"Are you listening to me?"
People like to be heard. To be heard helps reduce insecurity. It gives us a feeling of peace. And when someone really listens to us, we often discover something about ourselves. Often we solve problems just when we are really listened to and feel heard. In this handout I will explain two ways of listening and encourage you to try to listen better to those around you.

ANALYTIC LISTENING: This is the kind of listening we usually do. During Analytic Listening I am evaluating in my mind as I listen to you. I am busy judging and deciding what to say. I am analyzing. As a result, you don't feel heard. You may repeat yourself, or feel annoyed. Maybe I can even repeat back to you what I "heard" but it just doesn't feel like I listened to you.

DEEP LISTENING: This is a rare talent. In deep listening, my mind is very quiet when I listen to you. My feeling is peaceful and curious. I don't take anything personally. I don't judge or decide or figure anything out. I don't try to remember anything. My mind is quiet and open. As a result, you find you don't repeat yourself as much. You feel a connection. You are likely to say, "I don't know why, but I really felt you heard me." Your feelings will become more peaceful.

Let's compare the two.

MOOD: More tense, distracted,         MOOD: Peaceful and curious, humble
competitive, and superior.            and tentative.

MIND: Busy with judgment and          MIND: Thoughts are dropped rather 
analysis; "If you say this,           than pursued.  Any analysis is 
it probably means you also            ignored and discarded.
think that."  Feeling of              Feeling is inquisitive. 

MEMORY: Effort made to not forget     MEMORY: No effort is made to
anything, so while that is going      remember anything. There is a quiet
on, the listening is distracted.      assurance that the mind will 
Fear that something might be          provide whatever memories are
forgotten.                            needed without forcing it.

CONVERSATION: Frequent interrup-      CONVERSATION: Mostly questions,
tions, challenges, confrontations.    interruptions only when the listener
Sometimes both talking at the same    is confused and unclear. No
time. "Making points" or competing    confrontations or challenges.  
for who can prove the other is        There is a slower pace, and the 
mistaken. Rapid pace of speech.       feeling is that there is no hurry.

RESPONSE TO BLAME: The analytic       RESPONSE TO BLAME: Curiousity,
listener tries to show how the        puzzled. May say things like, 
speaker is wrong; sounds defensive    "You could be right about that."
and closed.                           Listener is willing to consider                                              shared blame or responsibility.

INFORMATION: is guarded and not       INFORMATION: is shared openly and
shared openly; responses are based    with trust and confidence.  The
on whether they will achieve a goal   listener tries to not have an
and data are "edited" before being    agenda or a preferred way to solve
shared. "Be careful you don't give    the problem, so the more information
away an advantage."                   on the table, the better.

PROBLEM SOLVING: Effort to force      PROBLEM SOLVING: Flashes of insight
one person to accept the other's      and intuition; there is a win-win 
solution. Feels win-lose to both      attitude and solutions that would 
sides: "I must win or at least I      harm either party are simply
must not lose." Feeling of            rejected or ignored. Often the 
superiority may be present, "If you   problem is solved in a unique or
would only see it my way, you would   unusual way as a result of this 
make sense."                          intuition-based approach to solving
                                      problems. There is often a
                                      sense of humor or pleasure when the                                          solution appears.

This document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the copyright notice and author contact information are included, and as long as no charge is made for copying or distribution.
Author: Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson@inconnect.com
166 East 5900 South, #B-108, Murray, UT 84107 (801) 261-1412