If you have been on Sedona Retreat with me or read my columns, you know I am big fan of “deep listening.” Deep listening is listening to others from a quiet place, not listening to your thinking while the other person is talking! Deep listening is being in full-blown receiving.
A few days ago, I had a brief exchange with an acquaintance (a good guy) and afterwards I thought that there is level above deep listening and I should write about. I call it “basic listening.” And people’s actions in these talks are truly innocent. I really believe they aren’t aware of what they are not doing. Here is how the conversation went after the usual greetings:
Acquaintance: So what’s new?
Me: Well, I am thinking of putting together a workshop with Chip Coffey, the medium from the A&E show Psychic Kids and Paranormal State.
(Brief pause here)
Acquaintance: So, what else is going on?
Me: Well, I just put an offer on a house!
Acquaintance: That’s great!
(Another brief pause. This is me waiting for interest or questions or curiosity about the house offer. Finally giving up, I ask…)
Me: So, what’s going on with you?
Acquaintance: (They went onto to explain something they’re working on)
Me: Wow, that’s sounds great. I know you have been thinking about doing something like that. When do you think it will happen?
Acquaintance: Next month.
Me: How many people are you shooting for?
Acquaintance: Maybe 25.
Me: Sounds good—Have you put it on your site yet?
You get my drift, brothers and sisters! I am sure you have had these conversations. That acquaintance showed no curiosity or interest in what’s going on with me — this was not deep listening! But I truly believe he did this innocently. Here is another variation on this; what I call “identification listening:”
Me: I got pulled over on the Asante, doing 35 in a 25.
Acquaintance: Wow, bummer. Yeah I got pulled over a month ago there. But the cop let me off with a warning. That’s my third time this year. (then continues talking for another two minutes!)
Just like you do, your friends and acquaintances want to be heard. They want people to be curious about what “they” are doing — that’s deep listening. The way to be curious is to ask questions! Once, I asked someone why don’t they ask questions and they said, “they don’t want to be nosey or prying.” I can understand that response when it might be something very personal and the friendship level might not be intimate but this is just basic social conversation. Also, my response to that also might be: “If you are ok with someone asking you questions, then why wouldn’t you be ok with asking them!”
The big message here, brothers and sisters is get fascinated by people! Your friends, family, partner, and acquaintances are interesting but you have to create an opening to see that with deep listening. And one way is with simple polite questions. Don’t you like it when someone shows an interest in you!
Also, if you have friend that continues to make it about them—call them on it–of course, gently, kindly and with their permission. How are they going to know, they are doing this one-way conversation unless someone tells them! And if a friend continues to stay in this habit, then as I have done, I just let them go. This tough love may create a shift for them in thier deep listening and also you, in that by taking this stand you will attract people who are just as interested in you as you are them. Who you are and what you are doing is important! You deserve to be listened too!
More listening—less talking! Good plan!