Listen deeply with all your senses, with your gut. Pay attention to more than the words said.
If you listen deeply with all your senses, you’ll be more attuned to engaged your ‘sixth sense’ or intuition.
To really get to know someone, listen deeply to them. You can learn so much more about a person than from just their words, pay attention to what they communicates non-verbally when they are talking.
Pay careful attention to how you feel as you listen to them. Your body and all your senses are sources of information and wisdom that can help you interpret who this person is.
What differentiates listening from hearing is the fact that when we listen we are also interpreting what we think is going on.
Listening always implies interpretative understanding. Hearing is the physical act of taking in the sound with your ears.
Listen with all your senses.
When we are be centered, present, and fully available, we can listen to another person with all our senses: seeing their bodies (if we are with them in person) or other images, hearing their voice, observing what their speaking and presence produces in us by noting how we feel, what we smell, and even sometimes what we taste.
The more you practice becoming aware of what all your senses are perceiving, the more deeply you will listen.
We can listen when there are no sounds. Silence, gestures, breathing, body postures, vocal inflection and movements all can be interpreted.
- What does their body language look like?
- Are they making eye contact?
- Are they gesturing, or walking around?
- What about facial expressions?
- Are they doodling on a piece of paper or scratching their chin?
- At what point does their voice go up, or down? – Do they speed up or slow down? Louder, softer?
- What might their nod mean?
These are just some examples. Put it together with what they are communicating through both words and tone of voice, and you begin to get the full picture of who they are, and of your relationship.
Try these tips to listen with your whole self:
Look directly at the other person when they are speaking to you.
Don’t allow other things going on to distract you from giving the conversation your full attention.
Observe body language; notice if they are acting “closed” or “open” as they talk.