Paradoxically, when we want to “communicate”, we refer to elements that are related NOT ONLY to the nature of the words we say, but ALSO to what we do not say.
Thus, an essential element in the art of communication is the ability to LISTEN – more precisely, to listen to what is not said.
In order to truly listen to the speaker, it is important to keep in mind two basic principles.
The first principle says that:
It is not in my power to improve anyone’s life. I can offer my help, but I can’t make his life more beautiful. In short, I can’t change others, only me.
The second principle says that:
I am not responsible for solving other people’s problems. Everyone is responsible for themselves.
If these two principles are understood and put into practice, then the pressure to give an answer disappears and we have the ability to listen carefully and deeply.
And how do we know how to listen carefully to “what is not said” in a conversation?
- first, by paying full attention with the help of the body:
- we focus our gaze and attention on the person speaking
- slightly bent body position, a light touch on the other person’s hand, head movement
=> all this gives indications that it benefits from our full attention
- second, we listen (and observe) the emotions expressed
- third, we listen to the needs expressed
- fourth, we understand what he means by putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes for as long as we can
What can you do better next time?
Observe your own listening patterns.
- do you listen carefully to everything that is being said or are you already thinking about solutions while your interlocutor is talking?
- are you looking forward to express your point of view?
- do you intervene as soon as he pauses to think about something?
In the next conversation you have, listen by paying full attention to what is being said. If you start giving an answer while the other person is still talking, then focus again to listen carefully. One of the biggest compliments you can give a person, is to give them your full attention.