Listening to Understand….And Allow Others To Think!

Jenny Mackness, HR Manager px Limited and NLP Master Practitioner
As a believer in the therapeutic process and the benefits of having space to think, question and be supportively challenged, (often by myself!), I am also very aware of the power of words.

The power to create shared understanding and, in enabling others to work out what they really mean, are wanting to say, have heard and, understood by others. This has been brought home further by my latest choice in audiobooks – a series of therapy sessions with the therapist Esther Perel – “Where Shall We Begin?”

In the space within my car, driving to and around for work, I have created a listening and thinking environment for me about the power and impact of words and, of truly being heard by others. How even in the closest of relationships we can be speaking a foreign, misheard language, where what we say is rarely what we are meaning and where our words contains layers of history and intention, with the potential for misunderstanding and misdirection. How so often it can seem that it is more important to have had “our say,” even when we have said it before, than to pay attention to what is really being said and asked to be listened to.

And in this listening zone of my car, where I can only listen, I have also learnt, how that act in itself can and does change the story(ies) which are being presented and the conversations which have and are being had.

For when we truly give another person the space and courage to speak their voice out loud, to think, wonder and work out what they really want to say and mean, we open up a whole new conversation and world of possibility – not only for them, but also for us.

So one of my resolutions this year, is to continue to develop my ability to shut up. To take a breath before I speak and, mentally check in with myself before I open my mouth and ask “for whom am I saying this ?…. what might happen if I didn’t?” To to go with the likely numerous resulting goldfish actions and, to continue to shut up.

For many people this will be a completely new experience for them in a conversation with me; a realisation that they have my attention, that I am really listening and that I want to understand their meaning and their learning. They have my time and my attention and what they are saying however they are saying it, matters to me.

To misquote Ronan Keating in Boyzone “I’ll say it best when I say less overall!”

And so my question to you, is what might happen, if that was how you had your next conversation……..?