Posts Tagged ‘listening skills’

Sometimes I wish I could walk around with a microphone that picked up the thoughts of the heart.

Like those interesting individuals who walk around listening for treasures in the sand on a beach, I wish I could listen to the heart.

What I have learned through listening is that everyone verbalizes their particular thoughts for a reason. Everyone chooses to tell their stories for a purpose.

If you listen closely, you can pick up the heart beat of another’s thoughts. We all have patterns of thinking that are spoken through words, stories, and conversations.

Whether we are conscious or not we all speak on purpose.

You can learn a lot about the heart of another just by listening with intention.

Scripture states that, “from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” This is just good and simple truth. What is being spoken is the verbal reflection of the heart.

What we say matters.

I ask myself questions and look for things when people are talking.

So how do you listen between the lines?  

What is intentional listening?

Why does this matter to the person?

When someone is telling me a story, or verbalizing their thoughts, I listen for what is of value to this person – Why does what they are saying matter to them? You can learn a lot about motivation and value by asking why.

Is there a pattern to what type of content is being discussed?

We are creatures of habit. Our thought process has a rhythm to it. We think and process in patterns and sequences. There are usually themes you can pick up on when listening to people talk. This could be in the way they tell stories or processing third party conversations.

What is the passion?

We all have unique passions and strong beliefs. Our passions often times frame the way we talk about subjects. Passions drive some of the themes for conversations. This also goes with listening to what matters to the person. I love watching people step up on their soap boxes.

What is the fear?

This one is a personal point of listening for me. I often listen for the fears not being spoken, but manifesting themselves through what is being said. Pride and defenses are usually revealing a deeper fear rather than a character flaw. We all have certain places that are protected by walls and guards. We all have ways of deflecting attention from our fears. Those fears matter to me. I listen for the deep heart.

Always watch for the nonverbal. We speak loudly through saying nothing at all.

Try it out. Take some time and listen with intention to the what and why of another’s heart. Hopefully you will learn a lot about them.

How do you listen with intention?



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Listening is something that does not come natural to most people. We like the sound of our own voices. We like our thoughts to be heard. We like to be “helpful.”

But are we?

Are we hearing or being heard?
In my experiences of being a counselor, conversationalist, and well…a friend, I have heard lots of listening styles. I do mean heard lots of listening….

What kind of listener are you?
I have thoughts about different categories of listeners. These are not technical terms or names, some styles I hear. I am not saying any of these are right or wrong, but there a different styles of listening for different people. There are also pitfalls to every listening style. You just have to find the right kind of listening for you.

The Match Maker Listener:
Some people communicate that they get it through matched stories. For example, someone is telling you their thoughts and you have experienced something similar. The match maker tells a similar story in order to convey their understanding and “getting it.” For some this form of listening works. Both parties feel understood. For others it can feel dismissing.

Strategic Listener:
Some communicate listening by asking challenging questions. Some people take what is being said and see the way to fix it. Some people need those questions of challenge and strategy. Some people need help in the way of direction through their processing. This type of listener helps others get to the hopeful desired end. However, some might not be ready for strategy.

Dear Abby Listener:
Some people listen with the intent to give their two cents of advice. Some people listen with the intent to share their own thoughts. Some people need the advice of others. We can get stuck, or even have blind spots in our own processes. However, Some people might not need/want feedback or thoughts yet.
Listening is Listening. Scripture says, “be quick to listen and slow to speak…” Listening is a skill. Listening is a sought after need. We so often forget that listening mostly requires just BEING present with someone, and really getting to know their hearts.

I want to challenge you to get to know what kind of listener you are. Not only that, get to know what kind of listener you need for yourself.
We all want people to see, hear, and know our hearts. I have found the best way to listen is to just be present. I ask the person if they even want feedback or just for me to listen without questions or thoughts. We can “get it” by hearing where the person is wrestling, and offering empathy not necessarily our thoughts.
However, I will say that if you find yourself saying the phrase, “How are we back on me?” or “I felt like I talked the whole time….” You might need to work on your listening skills.
Hear people. Listen to what they are not saying. Listen between the lines. Learn people’s hearts. Everyone is saying the things they are saying for a reason. Care about that thing. It matters to THEM!

What kind of listener are you?

What kind of listening do you need?

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