Listening and being heard

Jun 30 2014 by Benn Abdy-Collins Print This Article

Many people find building and developing relationships a real challenge. Thats why some of the most clever and creative ideas people and product developers rely on people people to translate their ideas into the world. But, like it or not, you, a large part of your effectiveness on a daily basis depends upon how well you interact with others.

The very lifeblood of human relationships is the ability to communicate. Many of lifes problems stem from poor communication skills. When you choose to improve the quality of your relationship skills, your life will change. A big step along this road is to learn to listen.

Top salespeople know this. They know that by first listening and engaging, they get the story and clarify the needs. They understand that people like to be heard and that by listening first, theyll be heard when they pitch their solution.

But theres more than just anecdotal evidence to support the power of listening. In the 1990s, an analysis was carried out on New York States doctors medical malpractice claims statistics. Patients who expressed concerns about unexpected results received two different responses from their doctors:

  • An interruption within four seconds. These doctors were more likely to be sued.
  • A caring attitude and being listened to for twenty or more seconds before a response. These doctors were much less likely to be sued.

The power of listening is sadly underestimated. When you listen, youll understand what you think and feel and, what others think and feel. And then, youll know what you need to do to solve communication issues. When you hear yourself and hear others youll engage, empathise and build relationships built on respect, acceptance and acknowledgement:

  • People who influence know how to pay attention, to show respect;
  • People who influence avoid or defuse problems;
  • People not heard get angry;
  • Learn to listen and youll become a great communicator;
  • Dont listen, youll be unheard.

Wanting to be accepted is a powerful emotional driver. Thats why people buy into business cultures, brands, politics and clubs. Many lifestyle choices are driven by a need to find acknowledgement and to appear respected. Although finding ones place in any herd or crowd can provide comfort and confidence, the approval gained is conditional. Match the herds message youre fine; deviate from it and youre cast out and unheard.

Being heard as an individual is, I believe, a fundamental human requirement. But that wont happen unless three priceless conditions are met:

  • When you listen to yourself, you acknowledge you;
  • When you hear another, you acknowledge them;
  • When you acknowledge them, youll be acknowledged back.

A step further into listening is to uncover what your authentic needs or fundamental requirements are. With this clarity, youll know when something doesnt fit you any more. With practise, fulfilling your authentic needs will liberate you from needing approval from others.

Whilst every person has different fundamental requirements to feel good in the world, research shows that when your requirements are being met you feel safe, secure, happy, warm, alive, vital, excited etc. Ensure your needs are met and your life will feel valuable and good.

So how do you find your needs? One way to do this is to pay attention to the times when youve felt alive, excited, secure, happy etc. and note down what you were thinking about at the time, what your emotions were telling you, what feelings you were responding to and what triggered you to feel that way. As your thinking determines your emotions, listening to your emotions will help you know what youre thinking about. For example, if you feel scared, youre having fear-filled thoughts. That being said, we often dont really know what were thinking or feeling. Thats the time to listen to your bodys messages and let them tell you whats happening.

Everyone carries emotions in their body. Ask yourself where does your body not feel right? Do you have any aches or pains, tension or tightness? Do you have any heaviness, hollowness, fullness or hurt? Does your neck ache? Do your shoulders carry too much? Is your tummy tight? Can you breathe easily? Does your heart race? Do you have high blood pressure? Is anything else bothering you?

Only you can know what your needs are. When you honestly listen to your intuition and to your heart, youll find all you need to be successful. And, youll quite literally fall over ideal advice in chance comments in conversations and what you just happen to read. And whilst help outside can provide support and encouragement, effective personal communication starts with knowing and valuing yourself.

Self-acceptance and understanding are essential to your effective communication with others and in driving success in your work and business activities. When you listen to yourself, find your needs and apply what you hear into your life, you will reap the benefits.

One concern this may raise: isnt it selfish to put yourself (to approve of, accept, respect and acknowledge yourself) ahead of others? To choose to look after yourself first may clash with your upbringing. But, to make a difference, why not practise charity begins at home?

Listen to you. Know you. Communicate with you. Be the difference and your life, work and business will benefit and prosper!


About The Author

Benn Abdy-Collins
Benn Abdy-Collins

Benn Abdy-Collins is a transitions mentor who helps individuals deal effectively with health, change and transition in their lives. More at: