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UMBC Wellness in the Workplace

« Michelle Flinchbaugh | | April 2009: Provide a different perspective or new way of looking at something. »

March 2009: Listen deeply before offering a response.

In listening to a friend, colleague or family member, have you ever noticed yourself offering to help or fix the person’s issue or problem? It’s likely that this desire stems from wanting to help. However, it may be that the deepest desire of the other person is to be heard and understood, not to have the problem solved.

In your conversations this month, notice your listening tendencies and the responses of different speakers. Do you try to fix or solve, interrupt with your thoughts, or even move the conversation to something that’s going on for you? Does the speaker withdraw, engage with you, or become quiet? Do you notice that they avoid you on future occasions?

The next time you are in a listening role, simply and quietly listen first before offering a response. At the end of the conversation, check in with the speaker and see if the person would like any feedback or advice. Perhaps simply listening is perfect and nothing more is needed. What do you notice when you change your usual way of listening? How does this new way of listening deepen the exchange and serve the relationship?