If you’re here today, it’s safe to assume you’re going to LISTEN to our episode. But are you REALLY listening?
This is what we’re chatting about today - what does active listening mean and why do we often have the tendency to listen only so that we can reply and push our own ideas forward?
Here’s a (non-verified) fact we stumbled upon while doing our research: we can think at double the rate that someone is talking at. When someone’s talking to you and you’re thinking about your dinner while “listening”, you’re actually using up that capacity.
So let’s see what makes a good listener and why listening is important in every interaction we have with others.
What makes a good listener
“Real listening means listening to truly understand someone’s perspective and not to overlay it with your own context” - Jacob
We usually allocate 50% of our attention to listening and the other 50% to thinking about our reply, overlaying what is being said with our own ideas and thus diluting communication in favour of pushing our own perspective upon the other person.
Real communication happens when we try to understand where someone is coming from. Empathy plays an important role in active listening. We also need to let go of our predefined message that we’re trying to impose every time we have a conversation.
“If you’re constantly thinking about what you’re going to say to address something you’re hearing...are you really hearing it?” - Conrad
Listening could also be viewed as a way to help someone explore their own ideas. Active listening leads to questions that further help in this exploration. It might not always be about understanding or relating to the other person’s experience. It could be a case of feeding someone’s brain different questions.
We also have to take into consideration what lies behind the words. Is the other person seeking emotional comfort, understanding or solutions? Listening can take different shapes depending on their needs.
A common improv exercise is called “Yes. And?”. You reply to anything your counterpart is saying with “Yes. And?” - the whole point being to open yourself to where the conversation might take you. It means accepting anything the other might bring to the table.
“If you deny the reality of someone else, you’re doing one of two things: you’re either forcing them to reframe their reality to fit yours - then it’s a power play - OR it results in conflict” - Marco
Acceptance vs. agreeing
What is the difference between accepting someone’s point of view and agreeing with it? Starting a conversation from a place of acceptance means allowing the other person to put anything on the table.
In a way, it means emptying oneself of ego and creating the space for new ideas/different perspectives. It doesn’t not imply agreement. It’s just a form of empathy: understanding the other person doesn’t mean agreeing with them.
Thanks For Listening!
Hey! You got through another (mini) episode of the Simple Minds Podcast! Good for you! If you find yourself getting inspired by the lad’s chats than do us a favour and leave a review for the show on Apple Podcasts! It helps massively and lets us reach out to more and more people!
Connect with Simple Minds Podcast:
Host: Conrad Francis
Co-Hosts : “Magic” Matt J Hanham , Travis Hayto, Marco Noe & Jacob Moffit