Part 3: The Science
Of course, there are different levels of listening. Not every conversation requires the highest levels of listening, but many conversations would benefit from greater focus and listening skill. Consider which level of listening you’d like to aim for:
Level 1: The listener creates a safe environment in which difficult, complex, or emotional issues can be discussed.
Level 2: The listener clears away distractions like phones and laptops, focusing attention on the other person and making appropriate eye-contact. (This behavior not only affects how you are perceived as the listener; it immediately influences the listener’s own attitudes and inner feelings. Acting the part changes how you feel inside. This, in turn, makes you a better listener.)
Level 3: The listener seeks to understand the substance of what the other person is saying. They capture ideas, ask questions, and restate issues to confirm that their understanding is correct.
Level 4: The listener observes nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, perspiration, respiration rates, gestures, posture, and numerous other subtle body language signals. It is estimated that 80% of what we communicate comes from these signals. It sounds strange to some, but you listen with your eyes as well as your ears.
Level 5: The listener increasingly understands the other person’s emotions and feelings about the topic at hand, and identifies and acknowledges them. The listener empathizes with and validates those feelings in a supportive, nonjudgmental way.
Level 6: The listener asks questions that clarify assumptions the other person holds and helps the other person to see the issue in a new light. This could include the listener injecting some thoughts and ideas about the topic that could be useful to the other person. However, good listeners never highjack the conversation so that they or their issues become the subject of the discussion.
Each of the levels builds on the others; thus, if you’ve been criticized (for example) for offering solutions rather than listening, it may mean you need to attend to some of the other levels (such as clearing away distractions or empathizing) before your proffered suggestions can be appreciated.
Part 2: Compassionate Communication (aka Nonviolent Communication)
Observation: the facts (what we are seeing, hearing, or touching) as distinct from our evaluation of meaning and significance. NVC discourages static generalizations. It is said that "When we combine observation with evaluation others are apt to hear criticism and resist what we are saying." Instead, a focus on observations specific to time and context is recommended.
Feelings: emotions or sensations, free of thought and story. These are to be distinguished from thoughts (e.g., "I feel I didn't get a fair deal") and from words colloquially used as feelings but which convey what we think we are (e.g., "inadequate"), how we think others are evaluating us (e.g., "unimportant"), or what we think others are doing to us (e.g., "misunderstood", "ignored"). Feelings are said to reflect whether we are experiencing our needs as met or unmet. Identifying feelings is said to allow us to more easily connect with one another, and "Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable by expressing our feelings can help resolve conflicts."
Needs: universal human needs, as distinct from particular strategies for meeting needs. It is posited that "Everything we do is in service of our needs."
Request: request for a specific action, free of demand. Requests are distinguished from demands in that one is open to hearing a response of "no" without this triggering an attempt to force the matter. If one makes a request and receives a "no" it is recommended not that one give up, but that one empathize with what is preventing the other person from saying "yes," before deciding how to continue the conversation. It is recommended that requests use clear, positive, concrete action language.
"I Love You” AND Hug
It seemed like you were upset during our conversation and I thought I heard you say that you felt like I was not listening and I was trying to give you a solution.
That made me feel frustrated because I know the only way to truly solve a problem is to seek to understand by listening and that I remember that sometimes you just need to vent so I need to listen in a different way that is still new to me and I am still working to improve on this new skill. Also, it disappoints me because I am not perfect yet and it seems like you see none of my effort to improve.
I need to remember that there is more than one way to listen, that there are other ways to be supportive than problem-solving, and although I will never be perfect I should and can only do my best in the moment.
I am asking you to patiently remind me by using the key phrase “Opportunity to Connect (with Optimal Listening)" at the beginning of a conversation or reactively when I forget to use connection-centric listening?
[Wait for Response]
"I Love You” AND Hug
Part 1: 2 Types of Listening
Pre-requisite: Always be patient… Sitting in silence is OK.
Types of Listening:
- Solution-Centric Listening
- Connection-Centric Listening
IMPORTANT: Solution-Centric < Connection-Centric
CONJUNGERE AD SOLVENDUM
“Conjungere ad solvendum is Latin for ‘Connect before solving.’ I made up this motto because, through teaching and facilitating innovative thinking for decades, I’ve discovered that the most powerful catalyst for inspiring creative breakthroughs and translating those breakthroughs into sustainable innovation is to guide people to connect with one another first, before trying to solve a problem.
When people really listen, when they are fully present with one another, it is, as pioneering psychotherapist Carl Rogers describes, ‘astonishing how elements which seem insoluble become soluble.’ Rogers adds that when genuine connection happens, ‘confusions which seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams.’
This isn’t just true in therapy. Connection facilitates creativity in all domains. When people truly listen to one another, something reliably magical happens: seemingly irremediable confusions do become clear flowing streams. This is true in a marriage, a friendship, or a professional collaboration.”
We’ll start with the “why” connection matters.
As Michael says: “Connection facilitates creativity in all domains. When people truly listen to one another, something reliably magical happens: seemingly irremediable confusions do become clear flowing streams. This is true in a marriage, a friendship, or a professional collaboration.”
Connection-Centric Listening always comes first…
Solution-Centric Listening is always optional and comes after Connection-Centric Listening!
Start with LOVE: "I Love You” AND/OR Hug
Discovery: It sounds like you have some needs that are not being met…
Interpretation: How does that make you feel?
Ideation: "Oh I can only try to understand how ______(frustrating/disappointing/etc)______ that is…”
Experimentation: What do you think about the need of (the other person/people)?
Evolution: How do you think this makes them feel?
Finish with LOVE: "I Love You” AND Hug
I challenge Loved Person #1, Loved Person #2, Loved Person #3 to post an image/video that can be described as #thisislove then challenge 3 more loved ones.
Join the movement to remind ourselves what we are capable of when we are filled with LOVE by defining it visually.
Before working together to solve the problem of suffering that we can inflict on each other when there is an absence of LOVE, let us do our best to connect with one another first by sharing a unified vision of what an abundance of LOVE looks like.
Note: Repeat as many times as you want. 1 new image/video with 3 new peeps. Spread LOVE it’s the only way!
LOVE is always the answer.
THE SEVEN DA VINCIAN PRINCIPLES
An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.
A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and willingness to learn from mistakes.
The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience.
Becoming open to the unknown. A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.
ART AND SCIENCE (ARTE/SCIENZA)
Whole-Brain thinking. The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination.
THE BODY (CORPORALITA)
The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise. Balancing the body and mind.
A recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena. Systems thinking.
I am a big fan of the modern day philosopher, Brian Johnson. He has created over 200 Philosopher’s Notes . Philosopher’s Notes are like Cliff Notes for Positive Psychology and Philosophy Books. His motto is “More Wisdom In Less Time.” In Brian’s book, A Philosopher’s Notes: On Optimal Living, Creating an Authentically Awesome Life and Other Such Goodness, Vol. 1, he covers his 10 Principles for Optimal Living. These 10 principles are based on the common themes he found after reading over 200 books for self-development.
My favorite topic in the book is the chapter called “The Integrity Gap”. In this chapter, Brian introduces the reader to the Greek word Areté. This word translates to “virtue” or “excellence”. But it has a deeper meaning of “living to your highest human potential moment to moment”. He illustrates the concept of Areté by drawing a picture for the reader.
So… Uh... What exactly are you waiting for?
This isn't a dress rehearsal…