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  • by Tammi Scott

Listening Techniques: Are They Helpful?

More and more, we hear (pun intended!) about the importance of being a better listener. In the workplace, in our relationships, with clients, and even with ourselves.

There are techniques out there on how to be a better listener. Just Google this and you'll see tens of thousands of sites with information on this topic.

I've learned many practices, tools and techniques that have been helpful in my coaching practice. These all pointed me in the right direction so I could be a better listener, which is probably a good thing since that is so much of what I do when I am working with clients.

A few weeks ago as I was sitting in a workshop listening to the facilitator, I noticed I wasn’t really listening. I heard her, sure. But, what I realized was that I was listening with more of me on mind.

What does it mean, more of me on my mind?

The me was my thinking, and it was quite active. I noticed that I was filtering what the facilitator said through what I was thinking. We often, if not most always, do this automatically, fitting in what we're hearing into our own reality, based on our personal thinking about the past and the future.

Sitting in the workshop, as I noticed myself caught up in my own thinking, I wondered, ‘what if there was less of me on my mind as I listened to the facilitator?’ I'll admit that sometimes it seems that I care a lot about my personal thinking, because I get so caught up in it! It's like I might miss out on something really important if I don't pay attention to it.

All the tools and techniques aren't that helpful when we have more of ourselves on our minds. They can even add to more thinking, about what to say next, what to listen for, whether we missed a step in the listening process, etc. When we can understand that our minds naturally wander, that we get caught up in thinking, we'll see that we also naturally come back to the present moment.

When we're less concerned with ourselves and what's on our mind, there is more space to be in the moment and to truly listen.

Thank you for reading and feel free to share!

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