3 ways to Practice Deep and Effective Listening

“You don't need to be a voice for the voiceless. Just pass the mic.” -Su'ad Abdul Khabeer

I've been listening. I believe responding is essential and I needed time to decide how to respond while this storm is raging around us.

It took time; but I found deep listening to be the most effective and positive response I could have at this moment.

Deep Listening is a process of listening to learn.

It requires the temporary suspension of judgment, and a willingness to receive new information – whether pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.

It is integral in holding the evolutionary conversation together.

Here are some ways to practice. 

1. Be open to learning about yourself

Deep listening is integral in holding the evolutionary conversation together because it is an opportunity to notice our own tendencies around communication. To deeply listen, we have to cultivate awareness of how we have listened in the past and what type of listening we want to practice moving forward.

This requires a predisposition for curiosity.

ACTION STEP: Set an intention to self study. Hold grace for yourself, your older habits and programming when it comes to communication. Silence the voice of judgment, even toward yourself.

2. Listen to understand

Deep listening is active. It's different from simply noticing sound. When we deeply listen, it is no longer about how we plan to reply. Instead, it’s a genuine attempt to understand the essence of what is being shared. 

Listen not to respond, but to understand.

ACTION STEP: During conversation, listen without interrupting.

Not only will this allow you to process what's being said without forming your own responsive thoughts, it will give the other person space to complete their thought and feel understood, which is powerful in becoming a positive and loving force.

3. Ask clarifying questions 

Avoid making assumptions. Clarifying questions are your friends.

When we choose to focus on staying curious rather than getting defensive, we become part of the solution rather than feeding into conflict. When listening deeply, you may pause to ask for more specifics. This helps to navigate your own bias and avoid misunderstanding.

ACTION STEP: In your next conversation, even if it's over text, focus on letting go of all assumptions. Come from a place of curiosity and challenge the other person to explain their statements. Go deeper.

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Yoga Health Coach, Alignment Specialist