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Are you listening, Do you hear what I hear?

Sue Birkam Freedom Life Coaching Company

Sue Birkam Freedom Life Coaching Company

Are you truly listening or do you simply hear?

It has always been my observation there is a common thread amongst most people. Most people just want to be listened to. Would you agree?

Perhaps the knack for becoming a good listener stemmed from being the seventh of nine children. Now that I’m older and a parent of three adult children, I can understand that it would have been difficult to listen to that many children at the same time. Having the feeling of not being listened to was the motivator to become a better listener. Does that make sense?

But how much listening do we really do? Sometimes you might confuse listening with hearing. You can say, “I hear you”, but many of us have trouble with truly listening. So what is the distinction between listening & hearing?

Since I’ve been able to improve my listening skills, I notice when others are truly listening to me. Often I notice other people may hear the first three words of what you are saying, and then they begin to revert to their own minds to begin thinking about their reply, before you’ve finished talking. Have you ever noticed that in a conversation?

As a coach, the number one responsibility I have to my clients is to listen. To be an observer of pitch, tone, body language and even silence, yes even silence speaks louder than words.

Can we listen all the time? I’s not possible to be truly there every moment of every day and available to listen to everyone. It might be slightly energy draining to always listen. There are times when hearing is enough.

The distinction to listen or hear presents itself all of the time. Sometimes someone needs just a sounding board and hearing is enough, sometimes they need something more. The opportunity to hear or listen presents itself in our daily lives; the trick is to know when it’s important to truly listen.

Listening is a skill you can learn

Like any skill, where there is a desire to learn or improve you can become be a skilled listener. There have been several different studies on how we communicate, indicating that if people are totally harmonious at the time of communicating, In their interaction fifty-five percent will consist of body language, thirty-eight percent of their communication will be tone of voice and a mere seven percent is actual words.

When you incorporate sight, sound and intuition into how you listen, you are listening, and you are listening beyond words. Your comprehension for the essence of the conversation will be greater and your peak listening skills will teach you so much about the other person, more than mere hearing will.

To truly listen, it’s important to remain curious and without an agenda. You must have the time to listen and you must be fully present to the other person. Realize that silence between communications allows for words to land. I don’t know about you, but prior to improving my listening skills, I thought every moment of communicating with someone needed to be filled with sound. I’m here to tell you, let the words land for a moment and create the space for the other person to feel truly understood. How does becoming a better listener enhance your life, relationships and career?

Imagine for a moment that you have the floor at an event. Everyone there is in attendance to listen to what you have to say. There is full presence in the room and all eyes are trained upon you. The room is totally silent and you have everyone’s rapt attention.

How would this feel to know that you are being listened to without judgment, agenda or filters, you can just speak and the others are drinking in your words, body language and  pace.

Contextual listening is the skill of listening that can tell you so much. When you contextual listen you can hear the slowing or quickness of the speaker, the emphasis that the speaker places on certain words can be very telling, and sometimes it’s not what they are saying, but what they are not saying that really tells the story. This is helpful in many types of relationships, with client’s, children, spouses and potential prospects for business.

If you could listen contextually with your children, you will hear their passion for certain subjects as well as their disdain. You would be able to tell whether they broke the prized vase, or without them telling you straight up, you would know that they knew who did break it. With your clients you may hear “no, I don’t want your products.” However, if you contextually listen to their tone and which words they emphasize it will indicate whether they don’t want your products now, or if they don’t want your products ever. The emphasis and tone will be clear to you if you truly listen. When you listen it will invite you to explore further or leave the matter alone.

As a trained life coach I am devoted to the forward movement of people toward living the life they desire. I have an opening for someone ready to discover their passion, willing to remove obstacles in their path, or who may want an objective listener. Contact me at and visit the contact page.

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If you would like to comment or respond, I welcome your input. Please share your comments at the bottom of this blog.

Until next time!

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