by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute
If you listen deeply with all your senses, you’ll be more attuned to engaged your ‘sixth sense’ or intuition.
To really get to know someone, listen deeply to him. You can learn so much more about a person than from just his words, pay attention to what he communicates non-verbally when he is talking.
Pay careful attention to how you feel as you listen to him. Your body and all your senses are sources of information and wisdom that can help you interpret who this person is.
What differentiates listening from hearing is the fact that when we listen we bring forth a world of interpretation. Listening always implies interpretative understanding. When we ascribe an interpretation to a sound, we move from just hearing to the phenomenon of listening.
When we learn to be centered, present, and fully available, we can listen to another person with all our senses: seeing their bodies (if we are with them in person) or other images, hearing their voice, observing what their speaking and presence produces in us by noting how we feel, what we smell, and even sometimes what we taste. The more you practice becoming aware of what all your senses are perceiving, the more deeply you will listen.
We can listen when there are no sounds. Silence, gestures, breathing, body postures, vocal inflection and movements all can and are interpreted.
- What does his body language look like?
- Is he making eye contact?
- Is he gesturing, or walking around?
- What about facial expressions?
- Is he doodling on a piece of paper or scratching his chin?
- At what point does his voice go up, or down? Does he speed up or slow down? Louder, softer?
- What might his nod mean?
These are just some examples. Put it together with what they are communicating through both words and tone of voice, and you begin to get the full picture of who he is and your relationship.
Try these tips to listen with your whole self:
- Look directly at the other person when he is speaking to you
- Don’t allow other things going on to distract you from giving the conversation your full attention
- Observe body language; notice if he is acting “closed” or “open” as he talks