Tag Archives: active listening

Deep Listening


Deep Listening

A client speaking to his Rogerian therapist says: “I’m so depressed, I just don’t feel like is worth living.”

The therapist replies: “I hear you saying that you’re in pain and that you’re not sure how you will ever feel better.”

The client replies by saying: “I really feel I would be better off dead.”

To which the therapist comments: “You really are at your wits’ end about what to do.”

The client stands and moves to the window of the office and opening it up, the therapist observes, “You’re showing me how much pain you are in, how desperate you are.”

The client then jumps out the window

The therapist says, “Splat” (Rosenbaum, 2009).

The point of the above story is that reflective listening serves no purpose. It is parroting what someone has said, and simply repeating back to someone what they have said is pointless.

Deep listening takes a different perspective on listening. It adds empathy to the equation. Empathetic, deep listening happens when the listener silences their own internal chatter and own opinions, and completely stills their mind so that they can absorb everything that the person in front of them is saying.

The principle behind deep listening is that the person listening listens absolutely. They are completely present in the moment, they take in everything about the person in front of them in terms of their body language, facial expressions, voice intonation and use of language. They integrate everything that they witness to build a sincere trust with the communicator, so that the person speaking feels no judgment, and that the speaker feels like they have the listener’s undivided attention.

Deep listening is a practiced skill that takes years to perfect. Once it is perfected, it is an art, and a skilled practitioner can slip into deep listening easily.

“We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.”

Carl Rogers

Meet the entrepreneur 6: Communication

Communication at work

Communication has been cited as the biggest problem in South African companies. But surely the smaller the company, the easier the communication? It would make sense that since we all talk to each other daily, that we would know how to communicate, but this is rarely the case.

Here is how the problem starts: the entrepreneur knows what  she or he is doing and what they want to do. Their plan is so exciting and obvious to them that they cannot understand why everyone else is not on board.

The blatant gap is that no one else, or just a limited group of people, are actually told what is going on, or consulted with. The problems start to surface when the staff keep on doing whatever they always done, not knowing the goal posts have moved.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of an entrepreneur is their tendency to change direction with the market. As their focus changes, so does their action plan, and so too everyone else’s key performance areas.

Communication is not simply about telling others what is on your mind. It is a cognitive and emotional process in which one person is present in another’s world during the process of the discussion. 

Active listening and constructive feedback ensure that another person’s perspective enhances yours, moving an organisation forward like one smooth coordinated organism. By communicating with staff, the entrepreneur not only shares his or her dream, but the staff become part of the dream, and the entrepreneur gains the advantage of the staff’s thoughts and perspectives.

Talk is not cheap, it is highly valuable and incredibly effective.

Speak to a business coach today.  The first session is FREE.