Listening 101 (Mark Wilson)


Listening is the art of understanding all that you can about the one you are listening to. It’s about gathering the from their story without providing answers from yours. Never do we ask the question ‘why’; because ‘why’ demands justification. This is not about you separating right from wrong. Instead, we seek to understand the thought process behind their words.

Listening to their story is all about you gathering their information without interrupting them with yours. This is about their journey. Your answer to their problems, or your agenda only confirms to them that you are not listening to them.

Listening with the sole purpose of understanding while you participate with the story of their journey keeps them in discovery mode. Their own memory will inform them of what in life has worked and what has not. This verbal communication helps them determine what beliefs work and separates them from the ones that do not.

Listen and ask questions that focus on understanding. Utilize the words, phrases and examples they are using, without correction or injection of your thoughts that might be different than theirs. Understanding is your goal.

Listen for consistent words or themes that they may use to tell their story and record them either in your memory banks or on paper. Then use them to ask questions or to clarify your understanding of what they are saying.

Listen with the purpose of understanding and confirming that they know you hear them. Example: “ I heard you say..... Tell me more about what you mean when you use that word/phrase.” Or, “Please forgive me for interrupting, but I really want to understand what you meant by....” Or, “Tell me more about that.” Or show a puzzled look of confusion so that they see you need clarity.

Listen with your eyes, not just your ears. Truly focus on the person with your heart. You are looking for the “Yeah, that’s it. You heard me!”