Chatting With Presence

July 23, 2008

What does it really mean to listen? Have you ever been chatting with someone and feeling completely ignored at the same time? Have you ever ‘dozed off’ in the middle of someone’s story?

I think we have all experienced both scenarios, more than once and probably many more times than we’d like to admit. So how do we avoid ‘dozing off’ in the middle of a conversation? We do so, by practicing being ‘present’ in the conversation. Not just physically present, but emotionally present as well.

Use the following techniques the next time you are chatting with your best friend, colleague, neighbor or family member and observe what you hear:

  • Stop talking
  • Remove distractions
  • Suspend all judgments
  • Avoid interrupting
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Choose a curious mindset
  • Interject verbal cues (to let the speaker know you are still listening)
  • Ask clarifying questions (to be sure you heard correctly)
  • Notice non-verbal language
  • Use your intuition (that feeling you get)
  • Allow time for thought (pauses in conversation are important)
  • Acknowledge the speaker’s feelings
  • Show empathy

Share your observations by posting a comment. What else happened during your conversation? How did the speaker react to your new listening approach?