How often do you listen with your whole self when another person is speaking? Listening requires full engagement, which is hard work. It takes stillness, patience, and time.
Some say that listening is a lost art, one that many people are starving for. Yet listening is not complicated. To simply listen means to hold open a space (both around you and inside you) for what the other person is saying and feeling. It demands that you put down your iPad, smartphone, pen, or pencil, and focus your full attention on the speaker. It does not mean that you respond, offer a solution, or judge the content of what you hear in that moment.
Deep listening has both an active and a reflective component. The active portion requires you to concentrate on the speaker’s words, feelings, and nonverbal cues, without filtering, responding, or judging. The reflective component requires you to move from listening to comprehension without engaging in censorship.
Excerpt from The Transformative Negotiator: Changing How We Come to Agreement from the Inside Out. By Michèle Huff, J.D. UNHOOKED BOOKS.