Are you really listening?

As part of my corporate work, I recently ran a project which involved coaching clients in listening skills.  It was all about whether they really hear what their customers tell them.  We used a simple exercise which you can try. In this case, we recruited some customers to interview. You may have to do things slightly differently.

Find a friend who’s prepared to give you an hour of their time, and agree to talk to them about something you know little about – an aspect of their life that you’re unaware of.  Take a digital recorder with you. Spend your hour listening to them – make sure you allow them to do as much of the talking as possible, let them tell you what they want to. Once you’re done, sit down with a piece of paper and jot down what you heard. Now listen back to the recording and hear how much you missed.

One of my clients was astonished by what he’d missed from his customer conversation – ‘I don’t even remember that part of the discussion!’ he said – and amazed at the richness of the dialogue when he listened back to the recording.

In business, socially, at home – too often people are so distracted by their own internal monologue, preparing what they are going to say, concentrating on their own agenda, that they forget to listen.

The Unitive® coaching approach stresses the importance of listening properly. Meditating with absolute clarity on what the other is saying, and how they are saying it.

If you don’t listen, how are you supposed to know what’s going on around you? How are you supposed to feel connected?

And how are you supposed to know what you’re missing?

Jeremy Rix