Monday, 27 June 2011

Listening is the Greatest Courtesy

Today, whilst working with a client I remembered again those wise words passed onto me by my Nan - Listening is the greatest courtesy.

What is true listening? The client commented 'How hard it is to listen properly...I very often find myself thinking about what to say next in response or to justify or defend or to get my story - what my experience is - or viewpoint across'.

We are not intending to be discourteous when we do this, however, our actions are just that.

My perspective is that since we already know what we think it would be a good idea to listen properly to someone else so we can learn more about them and build a relationship - whether that be with a partner, parent, child, work colleague, client etc.

So how do we do it?

We can practice suspending our own thinking by becoming aware of our breathing.

You can do it now - become aware of the gentle rise and fall of your in breath and out breath respectively.

Whilst aware of your breathing your own thinking is suspended, leaving you free to really listen to the other person.

Try it the very next time you sense that someone in your life needs to talk. Start by smiling and asking what's their day been like.

Then just focus on your own breathing and feel the space that is created to really listen to that person.

How did you experience that interaction? Perhaps get feedback from the other person - was that useful?

When you have tried this out, let me know your experience. My passion is to inspire people and enrich their lives so please take the opportunity to visit my website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

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