This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.
The kind of listening that engenders deep trust and promotes real relationships—empathetic listening—is not the usual, every-day listening. It requires that we pay very close attention. And most of us aren’t very good at that.
Consider these four barriers to paying attention.
Which one(s) do you succumb to the most?
This week, choose one of the four barriers to paying attention and experiment with ways to remove it. Or at least minimize it.
Find one small change you could make, and make it. For example, if you have a habit of talking, employ a practice like counting to three or taking a deep breath before you interject in a conversation. If you succumb to everyday distractions, turn off all the alerts on your devices that pull your attention away from your task, or declare blocks of time in your calendar for uninterrupted work. If you have a fear of intimacy, practice being empathetic in all your interactions. Or if your little internal voice is a persistent interrupter, practice noticing it and bringing your attention back to the task or conversation at hand.
Note what differences it makes—for you and for your relationships.