Communication 101: Make Listening Your Superpower


What does it mean to listen? To truly listen. Recall any time that you felt both heard and understood, and keep it in mind as we venture into what it means to listen both actively and deeply. Before we proceed, and for context, active listening, as the name suggests, is where a listener commits to actively maintaining cognitive presence, so that they remain engaged, with what is being said.


For deep listening, while very similar to active listening, it goes deeper; pun intended. During periods of deep listening, the listener maintains a state that is, pretty much, meditative and free from mental bias or distortions. This state is paired with questioning of an almost neophyte type curiosity that is dictated, only, by what is being shared in that moment.


During periods of deep listening, the listener maintains a state that is, pretty much, meditative and free from mental bias or distortions.

Both of these listening types depend on the listener's ability to present numerous cues and prompts that allow the speaker to know that the listener is aware and following along. As a result, the speaker feels satisfied that their message is being received, as intended, and satisfied with the listener's listening ability and the intentionality given to that.


So what do these types of listening achieve? Firstly, active and deep listening helps you to understand what is being shared with you and why it is being shared. Reality is that, sometimes, people don't even know what exactly they're trying to communicate and these types of listening will help you to help them provide you with what exactly is the core of their message.


Reality is that, sometimes, people don't even know what exactly they're trying to communicate...

Further, these engaged listening styles are able to provide you with more information than you would've already been aware of, which, depending on the situation can be of great value, to you and/or additional stakeholders. With this information you can clearly identify facts, opinions, biases and intent.


Additionally, your interactions will experience an instant boost because of that therapeutic feeling your counterpart has, from being understood. To them, you are a superstar listener, who gets them. On the other hand, you experience significant improvements in the areas of conflict resolution, negotiations and overall cooperation.


To them, you are a superstar listener, who gets them.

Now, what does it take to develop these skills? Well, firstly, it takes practice. Practice what it means to bring your state of consciousness into the present moment. In other words, your ability to become as present as you can be. Put away physical and mental distractions, as you allow your awareness to tune into what is being shared with you.


Another way to develop these specific listening styles is through practicing open-ended questioning (questions that begin with what and how are safest). These questions encourage your counterpart to keep on providing you with information, reasoning and processes. All of which act as leverage in the overall communication process.


On the journey to effective communication, be advised that it is on you to use your acquired skills responsibly...

Finally, it must be stated, that it is hard to tell you where exactly to apply active and deep listening but rest assured that these applications benefit parents to managers to spouses. On the journey to effective communication, be advised that it is on you to use your acquired skills responsibly, because the last thing you want is to be seen as manipulative, in your utilization of them. Cheers.


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