The term ‘active listening’ is a frequently used term that means a person is a great listener. But the reality is that a person could be faking it, engaging in surface listening and send off the impression that they are ‘actively listening’. If you are one of those who uses ‘active listening’, I invite you to replace the word ‘active’ with ‘deep’ …..’deep listening‘. However, a warning is in order. To substitute the word, it requires taking meaningful action. What is the difference? An unwavering commitment, authenticity and genuineness to the listening process. Deep listening takes on many forms. When you are speaking with a deep listener, it’s as if you are the only person that the listener cares about at that moment. They drink in every word you speak and seek to understand fully what you’re saying and how you’re feeling. They are sending a vibration to you that says I value you and want to understand you. Please continue.
Deep listening is not a technique. It comes from the bone-deep belief that listening is a life force that creates respect and trust, regardless of what the listener’s opinion is on the topic. They suspend their view so that they can know what yours is. You know when you’re with a deep listener because you can feel it. Answer the question: who is the best listener you know, and what are they doing to be the best listener? I have asked hundreds of leaders this question and come up with five common responses: 1. they give me eye contact; 2. they pay attention; 3. they ask me questions; 4. they repeat back points to clarify; and 5. I ‘feel’ that they care about me as a person.
It takes a lifetime to develop a deep listening mindset and skillset. What is the payoff? You can:
- Develop the practice of suspending your views;
- Learn more about others and gain new ideas;
- Have richer conversations with others;
- Be a gift to another as they experience a rarity – being deeply listened to; and
- Strengthen your relationships with others.
Don’t settle for surface listening. Take a deep dive and be ready to experience a life of significance, fulfillment and enrichment. DEEP LISTENING PAYS!