Listening

A theme that often comes up in the 360 feedback of leaders I coach is that they do not listen. That they are only interested in their own opinion. In saying what they want done. At home as well as at work. They seem to have forgotten a basic skill. How to listen!

Remember what Epictetus said: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”

So how to get back to listening? Here are two things that usually help to get started:

1) Slot a few minutes in every discussion to hear the other person or the team.

2) What do you do when the other person speaks? Listen 🙂 Look at them. Not at your laptop. Not at your phone. Not elsewhere. If doing this seems a bit awkward, use SOLER:

S – Squarely face the speaker

O – Open posture, with arms and legs uncrossed

L – Lean towards the speaker.

E – Eye contact

R – Relax

Photo by Franco Antonio Giovanella on Unsplash

Ting – Are you listening?

The Chinese character for listening is Ting.

What can we learn from it about listening?


1) Use your ears to hear what the other person speaks.

2) Maintain eye contact. Use your (10) eyes to pick up any non-verbal messages conveyed. The body language. The facial expression.

3) Focus. Be one with the other person. Give the other person your ‘one’ undivided attention.

4) Treat the other person like royalty (king). Make them feel valued.

5) Use your heart. Show genuine empathy.

I learnt about “Ting” thanks to Janaki Sabesh who spoke about it in one of our Parenting with Depth sessions.

(Image source: https://www.codevelop.co/)