Through mindfulness I am a better listener. I don’t mean some kind of Zen-like hear the sounds of waves, the rumbling of my stomach pre-lunch, or what the air feels like against my ears. I mean listening as in to pay attention to someone or something and different than before; better than before. I’d add to this the element of understanding; so, through mindful listening I hear someone or something, am aware of the message, understand the message, and possess the ability to mindfully respond; I experience a new level of listening through mindfulness.
So, what? Right? When could this really matter, make a difference, provide value….One practical usage is being caught off guard and asked a question (ever been caught off guard and have someone ask you to volunteer at the kids school that day and you say YES?! – yeah, we’ve all been there and done that!). Mindful listening helps prepare us with responding…mindfully. Another practical usage is when someone is trying to sell you something.
Take for example the guy who just called about selling me home improvement services. I was deep in concentration when the phone rang. I answered the phone and it’s a telemarketer. Yes, we have caller ID and sometimes when our kids call from school, it’s from an unknown number in a local area code – so, I answer knowing it could be them. However, this time it was Jim. Jim was nice and I’ve been there many times myself making cold calls. I know how difficult this is and figured I’d hear him out. Jim shared that his company XYZ is doing work in our neighborhood and wondered if we had any projects. I asked, “Oh, which neighbor?”
Now mind you, before mindfulness it would not even have occurred to me to even think of let alone ask, “which neighbor?”. I would have thought, “Cool, you’re doing stuff in our neighborhood…yeah, let’s talk.” But now is different. I am changed. I am better equipped with tools and skills – that work for me everyday, anywhere, anytime. I am a better listener because of using my mindfulness techniques; they’ve become a part of me – reflexively. I don’t even have to think “Oh, use your mindful listening skills” because I’ve done it so many times it comes naturally. And I’m fully aware. Fully present. Even though I got caught off guard.
Jim’s response though was taken aback. He stumbled. He fumbled. He couldn’t find the words. And what did come out was his company, XYZ, were not doing work in our neighborhood.
Houston, we have a problem. Yes, a significant problem. Integrity and trust are gone. Not only for Jim but also for XYZ Company. A lost sale – for sure. It’s too bad and very unfortunate.
Calls like this happen all of the time, however, because of mindfulness I am better listener. I ask questions that wouldn’t even have occurred to me (autopilot, zombie…distracted/not present) but I do now.
A value of mindfulness is being fully present and aware; beyond hearing someone’s words, thorough mindful listening I was able to uncover a common sales tactic that was dishonest and protect myself, my family, and my home – and my money!
Many telemarketers and scam artists call preying on people. Some may argue and say, “use common sense.” I’d argue that we don’t know what we don’t know AND we don’t know HOW to do something different unless we’re shown and something changes. For example, saying to people “don’t give personal information over the phone” has no meaning unless we are fully aware and fully present –regardless of distractions. And con artists are masters at distraction. Now I’m not saying that Jim and XYZ Company are con artists. I am saying they use a sales tactic that is dishonest – and because of mindful listening – was exposed.
So, invest in mindful listening. See what does it does for you. We can help; we offer a variety of in person workshops and online classes.
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I’m finally mainkg better choices for my body and health because of a brighter WHY. I realized at a family celebration how very grateful I was to have the people I love there and how I missed those who were gone. (A little unconditional love and support from my Grandma would be precious today) It suddenly made sense to keep me healthy so I can attend graduations, weddings, etc for my kids and grands and watch their lives unfold.This is a gift to them but even more to me -Now as I pass on junk food I tie it to a future event I want to be attending. Exercise for a graduation -years in the future, have a veggie plate for a wedding way down the road, etc. . It is an act of mindfulness to remember one of them will someday be taking Grandmas cheerleading for granted at every milestone. I’ve made it a silly game and add fun to my day as I pretend I’m attending an Oscar or Nobel Prize ceremony for todays toddlers or teens and subtly remind myself I have value several times every day. Should one of them find the cure to cancer or resolve world hunger I would not miss the celebration for anything in the world-and definitely not for an order of fries.