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The art & science of listening


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The art & science of listening

  1. 1. The Art & Science of ListeningListening skills for effective communication in the context of emotional intelligence Lifestage, Inc
  2. 2. C The five domains of emotional intelligence: ommunication• Knowing your emotions.• Managing your own emotions.• Motivating yourself.• Recognizing and understanding other peoples emotions.• Managing relationships, i.e., managing the emotions of others.Daniel Goleman, Working With EmotionalIntelligence, Bantam Books 2006
  3. 3. Trust & understanding are fundamental forces in human interaction Establishing trustEmotional Intelligenceenables us to appreciate and is about listeningdevelop the vitalconnections between self, and receivingothers, purpose, meaning, what others areexistence, life and the worldas a whole, and to help expressing - notothers do the same. necessarily agreeing.• “Emotional Intelligence”
  4. 4. Individuals who scorehigher in the ability toperceive accurately,understand, and appraiseothers’ emotions arebetter able to respondflexibly to changes in theirsocial environments andbuild supportive socialnetworks.Peter Salovey et al, “Coping Intelligently:Emotional Intelligence and the Coping Process”Coping:The Psychology of What WorksC. R. Snyder, ed, Oxf
  5. 5. Well-developed listening skills open the door to:Greater cohesion among teamor group members;Greater productivity with fewermistakes;Increased sharing ofinformation that in turn canlead to morecreative and innovative work;
  6. 6. Listening is the most fundamental component of interpersonal communicationListening is not somethingthat just happens, it is anactive process in which aconscious decision ismade to listen to andunderstand the messagesof the speaker.• “The skills you need” istening.html#ixzzsMpHTGa5Y
  7. 7. If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it…•Listening the process of receiving, constructing meaning from,and respondingto spoken and/ornonverbalmessages.International Listening Association, 1996
  8. 8. Listening is the connective tissue of relationships “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” Brenda Ueland
  9. 9. Listening is the conscious directing of attention• Listening is about attention to the words and the music of other people and our interactions with them.• Attention is an integration of mental, emotional and physical processes.• The ability to direct and sustain attention is a skill that anyone can develop and is more directly related to emotional intelligence than IQ.
  10. 10. Types of attention“When you actually pay attentionto something you’re listening to,whether it is your favorite song orthe cat meowing at dinnertime, a “Simple” or “startle” asseparate “top-down” neuralpathway comes into play. Here, when hearing anthe signals are conveyed through unexpected noise;a dorsal pathway in your cortex,part of the brain that does morecomputation, which lets you Stimulus-directed – asactively focus on what you’re when we hear ourhearing and tune out sights andsounds that aren’t as immediately name called or aimportant.” favorite song• Seth Horowitz, “The Science and Art of Listening” New York Times, November 9, 2012
  11. 11. The “music” of a person is what is expressed nonverballyWhen a team member is not onthe same emotional wavelengthas the rest, the team needs to beemotionally intelligent vis-à-visthat individual. In part, thatsimply means being aware ofareas of disconnect,misunderstanding or blocks incommunication. Having a normthat encourages interpersonalunderstanding facilitates thisawareness and provides aprocess for dealing with it.“Building The Emotional Intelligence of Groups” HarvardBusiness Review, March 2001
  12. 12. “At its core, listening is connecting.”The ability to Emotionally Intelligent teamsunderstand the true and groups create norms thatspirit of a message as build trust and a sense ofit is intended to be identity among members.communicated, and These norms are maintaineddemonstrate your through active attentive listening and response tounderstanding, is what is expressed bothparamount in forming directly and nonverbally:connections andleading effectively. “Building The Emotional Intelligence of Groups” Harvard Business Review, March 2001• “The Discipline of Listening” Harvard Business Review, June 21, 2012 •
  13. 13. Emotional awareness is directly linked to the ability to focus attention “When research subjects were“Perception is influenced asked to retell a brief storyby the emotional state of they had to memorize, participants in a negativethe observer. In other mood tended to reportwords, how we perceive details, whereas participantsthe world does not only in a positive mood tended todepend on what we know report the gist of the story.of the world, but also by Interestingly, in perceptualhow we feel.” processing, a similar effect is observed.” Jolij J, Meurs M (2011) Music Alters Visual Perception. PLoS ONE 6(4): e18861. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018861
  14. 14. Our capacity to learn and to listen is profoundly impacted by our emotional state• In a study of the effectiveness of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to learning, its impact was strongly seen in shaping children’s developing neural circuitry, particularly the executive functions of the prefrontal cortex, which manage working memory – what we hold in mind as we learn – and inhibit disruptive emotional impulses. intelligence/
  15. 15. Active listening is “involved listening with a purpose”• Using all available senses to take in the verbal and nonverbal • Anyone can improve expression of others; their active listening• Paraphrasing what is heard to skills through either check understanding and ensure experience or training. accurate perceptions; Awareness and• Providing feedback through verbal management of our and nonverbal responses to the speaker and the speaker’s own emotional life are message. key to active listening.Listening and Critical Thinking” Fundamentals of CommunicationStudies, Chapter 5,
  16. 16. When listening to another person:Set judgments aside totake in what a person is • Disagree without beingsaying disagreeableAllow others the • Try to understand howopportunity of a the other person feels,complete hearing - to go and to discover whatinto depth and detail they want to achieve.without being
  17. 17. Attention is a choice• “The richness of life doesn’t lie in the loudness and the beat, but in the timbres and the variations that you can discern • “Listening is a skill if you simply pay attention. that we’re in danger• Listen to new music when of losing in a world jogging rather than familiar tunes. Listen to your dog’s of digital distraction whines and barks: he is trying and information to tell you something isn’t right. Listen to your significant overload.” other’s voice — not only to the Seth Horowitz, “The Science and Art of words, which after a few years Listening” New York Times, November 9, 201 may repeat, but to the sounds under them, the emotions carried in the harmonics.”
  18. 18. Directing attention is a skill that grows with practice•Mindfulness•Music•Storytelling•Metaphors
  19. 19. Mindfulness practices strengthen listening skills • Stilling the mind involves not becoming distracted by our own train of thoughts so as to remain fully present with others. Being completely in the present moment means giving full attention to the interaction with other people. Yoga and meditation are two practices that help cultivate this core listening skill. “Your Mind At Work: New Ways To Approach Those Niggling Challenges In The Office” Mindful, April 2013, p. 55
  20. 20. Mindfulness cultivates listening skills – and reduces emotional stress• Practice following a simple • To reduce frustration with lack behavior (like slowing down your of progress in self or others: breathing) or object (like the Listen fully to a longer piece of flame of a candle). The repeated music without doing anything return to a focal point trains else. Just listen. This helps train attention. the mind and emotions to appreciate rhythms rather than trying to force things.• To reduce the irritation of others’ gossip, office politics or difficult personalities: Let others talk about • “Your Mind At Work: New Ways To Approach Those Niggling Challenges In themselves and make it a practice The Office” Mindful, April 2013, p. 55 to silence judgment and listen for what causes their pain.
  21. 21. Music and mood are closely interrelated• Listening to a sad or happy song on the radio can make us feel more sad or happy. Such mood changes not only affect how we feel, they also influence our perception.• Listening to music that improves our own mood enhances attention and openness to others.Jacob Jolij, Maaike Meurs. Music Alters Visual Perception. PLoS ONE,2011; 6 (4): e18861
  22. 22. “In a story, you not only weave a lot of information into the telling but you also arouse your listener’s emotion and energy.” • “Stories fulfill a profound human need to grasp the patterns of living—not merely as an intellectual exercise, but within a very personal, emotional experience.” “Storytelling That Moves People” Harvard Business Review, June 2003
  23. 23. MRI scans of a person telling a true, personal storyand that of a listener show that when the listenerwas engaged brain activity mirrored that of thestoryteller WE ARE WIRED TO CONNECT
  24. 24. “Neural coupling” occurs in successful communication • The findings indicate that during successful communication, speakers’ and listeners’ brains exhibit joint, temporally coupled, response patterns. Such neural coupling substantially diminishes in the absence of communication, such as when listening to an unintelligible foreign language. “Speaker-listener neural coupling underlies successful communication” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Vol. 107 No. 32 l
  25. 25. “When others speak, we typicallydivide our attention between whatthey are saying now and what they are going to say next -For many of us, the opposite of talking isn’t listening, it’s waiting.” Daniel Pink, To Sell Is Human, Riverhead Books, 2012, p. 190
  26. 26. “Listening is the quality control of communications.”“Listening with purposeshould be about listening ACTIVEwith the intent to learn,understand and possibly be LISTENINGchanged because of theexchange.” IS PURPOSEFUL CURIOSITYKaren Natzel, “Fuel Your Curiosity, Listen WithPurpose”Daily Journal of Commerce, November 27,2012
  27. 27. “I have noparticulartalent. I amonlypassionatelycurious.”Albert EinsteinThe New Quotable Einstein, AliceCalaprice, ed, PrincetonUniversity Press, 2005
  28. 28.• Lifestage is a training and consulting company that designs creative, experiential programs for personal and professional development. Read articles by Lifestage trainers at• To book a training workshop for your group, organization or staff contact Jude Treder-Wolff at 631-366-4265 or