We have all had conversations with someone and you thought you were paying attention only to suddenly realise you had “Zoned Out” and couldn’t remember what they had said.
We all lead such busy and noisy lives with so many distractions like mobile phones and thoughts whizzing around our heads that listening effectively can be very hard to achieve.
Listening “mindfully” we can become aware of these barriers but remain still able to hear the speakers messages.
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non judgementally. When you’re not mindful you can be easily distracted by your own thoughts and worries and fail to see and hear what other people are doing and saying.
Communication experts suggest that the average person can remember only 25 percent of what someone has said. The goal of mindfulness is to silence the internal noise of your own thoughts so you can hear the whole message that is being said to you.
So how can we be mindful when talking to someone?
- Simplify your surroundings..Workplaces are full of distractions like phones, computers and printers etc. Keep your desk and work place tidy and mute your electronic devices.
- Prepare yourself.. Take a minute or two to clear your mind before you meet someone. Practice a few relaxation techniques such as deep breathing before the conversation.
- Mindful Meditation Practice..Practising mindfulness can be a great way of learning how to focus on the moment, learning to empty your mind of “clutter” making room for others points of view. As with any other form of exercise the more you practice the better you will become at it. We all lead such busy lives but grabbing 10 minutes a day to practise will help enormously.
- Learning empathy.. We often view the world based on our own experiences, beliefs and personality. When you become empathic you can understand a situation from someone else’s point of view regardless of your own. Being empathic does not mean you have to change your views on something it means you are creating a space to acknowledge someone else’s opinion. It is a wonderful skill.
- Listen to your own inner voice…Feelings, thoughts and physical reactions that make us feel angry or anxious can “block” our ability to listen. Mindful listening can help us to be more aware of the things that suddenly happen within us that could block us from listening attentively.
- When we listen we can tend to be on “auto pilot” nodding and agreeing without really hearing what is being said or the meaning of the words. We can interrupt and dominate the conversation or be thinking about what we are going to say next while the other person is still talking.
The rule is very simple..just “Listen” carefully and attentively. Pay complete attention to the other person and don’t let your own thoughts dominate the conversation.
There are many benefits to mindful listening. It helps you to retain information, pay attention for longer and can boost your self esteem. It creates an open pathway of conversation without any thoughts inhibiting or pre judging what is being said.
Mindful listening has been likened to the effects of stroking a pet, you forget about yourself, your blood pressure drops and you feel calmer. It creates an environment of calmness and openness that can help reduce anxiety and increase positive feelings.
Next time you are chatting to someone try and practise #Mindful Listening You will be amazed at the increase of interest and engagement it will have when you actually “Listen” to what is being said.