Everybody’s talking at me, I don’t hear a word their saying only the echoes of my mind.
Is this tune reverberating for you from the early 70’s? It appears we faced lack of
listening skills then also.

Today what comes into view is our lack of tete a tete communication. Texting, emailing,
and voice mail get the gist of the message across, but this technology is blocking out any
chance for intimacy.

Relearning how to listen can bring back the caring in communicating. Next time you are
invited to a party, consider prompting a conversation and then just listening to what
emerges. If you listen, rather than merely hear what is being said, you engage your
senses, your heart, you promote growth, and a unique experience, for yourself and others.

Ponder these few listening skills
1. Consider that every person you meet is a reflection of some aspect of yourself.
Explore it. Be curious.

2. Ask open ended questions that by design reveal more information. Ask the deeper
question in a conversation. The question that is begging to be asked, the one that
is the purpose of the interaction, that question that is so telling.

3. Learn to be comfortable with silence. This allows for reflection, and connection
that goes deeper than words. Silence creates the space for more to be revealed. It
is perhaps better to feel, and get what the person is communicating, rather than
gathering more information by asking questions.

4. Show respect by looking into the person’s eyes. Read the facial expressions. Hear
the tone of voice, is it passionate, sad, or neutrally charged. Stand at a distance
that is appropriate and comfortable. Pay attention by providing eye contact,
looking away demonstrates distraction. Excessive nodding is distracting, and may
be perceived as condescending.

5. Listen for language style, is it formal, casual, funny, serious, or humorous. Being
authentically you, while also matching the speaker’s style, allows for better flow
of communication. People more easily relate to others who relate in the same

6. Listen for points of connection and commonality in the content of the
conversation. This is your opportunity to share something you have observed that
may be of value to the speaker. This builds trust and rapport. It may spark a more
passionate chat. Keep in mind that a dialogue that is solely about you is a dialogue
of the deaf, so be generous with your attention. Make it about your audience as
much as it is about you. Your words engage when they are apropos.

7. Listen for what is not being said. Behaviors, or body language, often give more
clarity and insight than words. Is there a synchronicity between what is said and
what is being reflected? Listening with your intuition can help you relate, or it can
signal for you the end of the interaction. Is what you see what you get, or is there
an elephant in the room? There is no value in listening to false truths.

8. Clarifying what you hear is essential to good listening skills. Repeating back a
phrase, or thought, shows that you have pledged your attention, and also that you
care enough to understand it correctly. It gives the speaker space to rethink the
thought, or rephrase it, and often times brings greater meaning to the interaction.
It is this dance, between the speaker and the listener, that can lead to a deeper
connection and a mutual win/win.

9. Turn off those echoes in your mind and you will find that options to navigate the
conversation will flow more naturally. Everyone has something to offer you if
you can just be present to fully listen. Honor each person that crosses your path by
giving them your undivided attention, in that very special moment, and you’ll find
you honor yourself most of all.

Author's Bio: 

Danielle Vindez holds the vision of optimal health, conscious eating, proper exercise, and mental balance, for all those seeking to transform their lives. She serves as a role model, a life coach, a personal trainer, and a fellow student in the search for excellence. She has opened a world-renowned health club, worked at exercise and nutrition clinics, has been active in national research studies, makes presentations on well-being, and facilitates retreat workshops.
Danielle is a graduate of UCLA, and Coach University. She holds certifications from International Coach Federation, American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the American Council on Exercise, and the Arthritis Foundation.