The Power of Listening

In the harsh and deeply polarized societal climate of today, it's crucial to start small and do all that we can as individuals. For each person who becomes better at listening, both to themselves and to others, our understanding of each other increases, which creates a ripple effect. A ripple effect which leads to the world becoming a better place. 

Somewhere along the way many of us have forgotten how to listen or chosen not to. It is my belief that we must reawaken this ability in order to change the manifold negative trends that we see in the world today. We need to talk about what happens when we listen. It is time that we become better at listening. To each other. To ourselves.

When you listen with your full attention the person you are listening to becomes more switched on; their thoughts become clearer. You, the listener, gain access to new perspectives, greater trust and closeness, which in turn makes you more switched on and improves your relationships.

When I am teaching and ask “How do you want to be listened to?”, this is often met with silence. Most people have never asked themselves this question before. When someone thinks about it and says “I know how I don’t want to be listened to!”, the conversation tends to get going. One thing that bothers a lot of people when they are speaking about a sensitive topic is when the other person says “I know exactly what you mean” or “I’ve had the same thing” and takes over to talk about their own experiences. Sometimes it is comforting to know that someone has gone through something similar, but it can also come across as dismissive. Another thing that some find irritating is when the other person gives unsolicited advice. Even worse is when we feel judged by the person who listens. After some group discussion about how people don’t want to be listened to, the topic comes into focus, and the list of ways in which people do want to be listened to might look something like this:

  • I want to see and feel that the other person is listening to me.
  • I want to feel like I can talk without being judged.
  • I want to feel trust.
  • I want to come to my own conclusions and solutions.
  • I want to be able to finish speaking in my own time.
  • I want to feel that the other person is interested and wishes me well.
  • I want to feel that the other person is present and not thinking about other things.
  • It is okay for the listener not to know what to say.
  • It feels good when the listener is moved by what I say.
  • It is good when the listener is quiet and gives me the space to think clearly.

By thinking about how they don't want to be listened to, the groups discover how they want to be listened to. When you think about how you want to be listened to, you can use that list as a starting point to develop your own listening. Let's work together to shine the light on the effects of listening to one another and discover the power of listening and being listened to. Annika Telléus will bring you concrete tips and tools to help you become a better listener, and a number of stories that will hopefully provide you with new insights, thoughts and perspectives. Just bring your curiosity and you will have everything you need to awaken your ability to listen and become an ever better listener.