"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.
ANALYTIC LISTENING DEEP LISTENING 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. preoccupation. 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.