In my last post, I described an exercise in deep listening that I found transformative as both storyteller and listener. We usually listen – if we’re listening at all – to facts. If we attend a little deeper, we listen for feelings.
The third mode of listening – attending to the other’s values – was the most profound aspect of our exercise. These values might include your core beliefs about yourself, the world and others; what you care deeply about, how you find meaning, and what a situation represents to you.
Most of this is implicit. We have to read between the lines and listen behind the words we here. Rather than offering a definitive statement, the values listener may instead ask deeper questions to get at the core values.
But to accurately understand another’s values and reflect them back is the most powerful way of listening. It brings both listener and speaker to a deeper level of relating and transforms everyday listening to deep listening.
As a listener reflecting back to another the values implicit in expressed words, you can provide the speaker with deep personal insights. You may bring to awareness subconscious beliefs and motivations.
Today, attend to your conversations. How deeply have you been listening? What are the feelings and values you hear in another’s words?
How does the experience of deep listening change you as a listener? How does it feel to be listened to and understood? How can deep listening transform your relationships?