Yesterday whilst in my yoga class, the instructor was giving us a specific instruction. She was very clear in her instruction and it so happened that the woman next to me had her left leg in front instead of her right leg. The instructor noticed this and kept repeating her instruction to this woman and only after a good 30-40 seconds that the woman internalized the instruction and did the right thing.
I was thinking about this incident on my way back to work and realized that many times at the gym, yoga or even at trainings that I facilitate for various corporates, many participants do not do what has been instructed or requested of them. This happens not because the instructions are not clear or the language not understood but the individual/s concerned are not listening. Their focus is on something else. They are not in the moment. They hear and yet they don’t listen.
What does LISTEN mean ?
Learn to recognize your shortcomings and accept yourself. Ask yourself, what can you do to bring back focus? Have an open mind and intention to listen.
If you are open-minded, then you become solution focused.
Indulge in asking relevant questions to explore rather than probe.
Be in the moment and take in the moment without judgement or interpretation. When we get lost in our thoughts, whatever they may be, they steal us from that moment of doing whatever we have to do and being whom we have to be. When you are in a conversation or in a class and when you are in the moment, you will be able to hear, understand, anticipate, and respond authentically.
Listening not only with your ears but eyes, heart and soul helps you to be empathetic. Put yourself in the shoes of the other person when you are having a conversation with someone.
EI is our ability to be aware of our emotions and the emotions of those around us. And having the EI helps us to listen to connect. I remember, when I was going through my coaching certification, one of the instructors telling us, as coaches, to be in the moment. Don’t think of what question you are going to ask next. In any conversation, as a listener, when our focus is on what we are going to say or ask, clearly we are not in the moment and not #listening.
The woman in the yoga class was probably going through one such moment where she was lost in her own thoughts and it took awhile for her to connect to what was going on in class.
Listening without judgement, interpretation or reaction is challenging especially when the feedback is on you and probably not that positive. It could also be challenging when you have faced a situation similar to the person who is narrating their experience. Many conversations are uncomfortable and difficult because the way it is delivered challenges us. Think before you speak because that allows you to focus on the facts and the end goal instead of reacting to the situation emotionally.
We are given two ears and one mouth and a good conversationalist is one who listens more than they talk. Good listeners are able to observe, empathize, understand, connect and move to becoming trusted advisors in whatever they do. And in all that they are an inspiring leader.
Consult me on dealing with difficult conversations, resolving conflicts and being a better communicator either for one-on-one coaching, group coaching, facilitation, or as a speaker.