How to Master the Art of Active Listening
3 easy ways you can practice, starting now
You don’t say much, do you?
This is what Begoña told me. It depends.
In 5 minutes of conversation, she asked at least 10 questions related to her fears, problems, lack of self-esteem, justifications…
Some people believe that being a Coach means I have the answer to all questions and, more important, that I will share them!
The work of a Coach is to help the coachee to identify the need, look for alternatives and improvements and take action toward the final goal, but not to tell the coachee what to do.
The Moment of Doubt from your coachee is the Golden Moment. It’s that space of time when the interlocutor seeks the answer or the justification in his mind. It’s key not to disturb that moment, and so I wasn’t going to say anything.
That day I had given a talk to 30 people about the need to carry out our actions knowing what our values are. About how I decided to take the step I knew I needed so desperately: learn to speak in public. I already talked about this here:
Maybe be quiet can be the best of the solutions
I have never been the class clown of the class. The one who spoke the most to the girls. The first one to chime during a meeting. I always have felt more comfortable in the shadows.
But for many years, I thought that was not enough. I felt that was a problem for my personal and professional development. I felt that shyness could not be good for my growth.
I wanted to take some action to change it, and so I read about it. I talked about it and I tried to go to sessions that would help me face my fears. But I could not be consistent with it. In the end, fear always overcame me. And it was bringing me again to the cave of shadows.
But one day I read this great article from Barry Davret:
I realized he described my experience exactly:
I spent much of my teenage years and early adulthood trying to “fix my problem,” taking courses and reading books on the art of conversation. It wasn’t until my early 40’s that I realized my problem wasn’t a problem.
I felt like I was reading my twin mind. In a week I’ll be in my 40’s, and I have spent a dozen years trying to fix that communication problem.
When the Silver Medal is better than the Gold one.
And indeed, as Barry says in the article, I also felt more identified with the Secondary actor than with the Star of the film. Without any doubt, in dreams, I wanted to be the protagonist but in real life, I prefer to be the supporting actor.
Over time I have learned to accept this situation and especially to think about this. Behind a great character always appears a second protagonist, usually the Creative, which is key to success.
Yes, Steve Jobs was a great character but without Jony Ive he would not have achieved half of Apple’s success. Just like Sancho Panza for Don Quixote or Watson for Sherlock Holmes.
Being a supporting actor is not negative. It’s a great opportunity for creative minds. It is from that stillness, that the world can be governed.
Being a supporting actor is also cool if you are a Creator. The creative prefers to feel fulfilled and be able to carry out their ideas over earning the medal for it. The creative does not live from the diffusion of what he has done but he breathes from being able to do it.
From the first line, you only have a close vision, far from reality. You are only able to see what you have in front of you while from a more open view you can have a new and wide perspective.
Why did I have to say anything to Begoña? What need does the human have to fill in those spaces of silence with words?
I didn’t think that I should give my point of view at that moment; rather I wanted to get all the information that she wanted to show me and accompany in her process of improvement. For that reason, to stay quiet and pay attention to her information was more important than talking.
Active Listening. #1 Skill you need to improve every single day.
It is not the first time I’ve thought about it. Once I wrote the following:
The art of hearing is more difficult than talking. In what iseasy lies not the effort or growth but that comfort zone that does not allow you to evolve because it leaves you in a comfortable situation. One of my main problems is thinking that listening is shutting up when another person talks and replying when they finish. But the problem is that active listening doesn’t work while I am working on my response while they speak to me without understanding that perhaps what they are telling me is important.
It is said of Bill Clinton that his best virtue was to make you look like the most important person in the world. In any situation it made the interlocutor feel the great protagonist. And do you know how he did it? Paying exquisite attention. Concentrated 100% in the person with whom he spoke.
People who’ve met President Bill Clinton often say he has a way of making you feel as though you’re the only one in the room. He gives you his full and undivided attention. And he seems genuinely interested and eager to hear your story.
But many other famous and successful people were active listeners. Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln, just to name a few.
To consider that the world does not revolve around you but around your interlocutor is really important for the ones you talk with. It shows that you value what they have to say.
With a calm mind, he was able to listen better, show more authentic empathy, keep his mouth shut, and then, when he spoke, do so with the wisdom of someone fully informed. matt richtel here:
3 Ways to Improve your Perfect Active Listening
- Blank Mind.
You don’t know anything. All is new. Feed your knowledge from all the conversations you do have without judging any word. At least, not initially.
- Bokeh Effect.
Feel as if you are taking a portrait of the person you talk with whom you’re talking. You have to focus your vision on the face of the speaker and blur the image around him/her. You are only interested in the face; anything else is a distraction.
- It is useful for you?
When Begoña told me: You don’t say much, do you? I replied to her by saying, is it useful for you if I reply? Would it change her life if I gave her my opinion, or would it be better to listen so she can do an inside out exercise? Very often, it is more powerful to listen than to talk.
My name is Victor Camon and I admire personal and professional growth. I am an identical twin, with my brother Hector, and since a kid, I had to differentiate myself. That’s why I like #Creativity to offer a distinction and Awakening brands from their market apathy. I am also expert in #Lifehacking. We all deserve to go projecting ourselves to a better day. I am a fan of reading and writing and of course sharing and be open to keep connecting the world and make this life easy for all of us. You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.