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The Power of Active Listening

🌍🗣️ The Power of Active Listening: Lessons from a Global Workshop 🌍🗣️


🤔 I used to interrupt people frequently, even those more senior than me. Whenever I felt they were heading down the wrong path or I believed I was several steps ahead, I would jump in to get to the point quicker or correct them. I thought I was saving time and preventing misunderstandings – my intentions were good, however, I now know that this interruption was even more disruptive than my intuition told me at the time.


🕒 Since I now spend all my professional time with senior leaders and businesses listening to them, I have come to understand the true value of feeling listened to, with generative attention and without urgency. And, I think that sadly, in our busy business lives, it doesn't happen often enough.


✨ When we listen to each other fully and attentively, it’s magical. We feel understood, like we matter, and we get confidence from solving our own problems – after all, we’re the expert of our own problem, aren’t we! ✨


🎧 In the past two weeks, Jenn Beeston (L&D expert and consultant) and I have facilitated a series of online workshops for a global charity headquartered in Geneva, with over 300 employees from around the world. Our focus was on the importance of active listening within their organization, giving participants a research-based experience and time to practice.


💙 92% of participants rated the workshop good/excellent, and the value they received was clear from what they shared with us afterwards: the incredible power that comes from being listened to, and how hard it is to truly listen to others – properly, without being distracted by your own thoughts.


❔So how do you listen well? We used Nancy Kline’s amazing evidence-based Thinking Environment and building on this, here are my top tips:


🔹 Clear the space. Before entering a meeting or dialogue, consider what you need to get down on paper, add to your to-do list, or simply put out of your mind for the time being, so you can offer your colleague your full attention.


🔹 Attention offers innovation and creativity. If you can truly be open to the speaker, and offer them curiosity, patience and attention, you will allow for them to be innovative and creative in their thinking. Plus they will feel like they matter, which can be an incredible experience.


🔹 Practice makes perfect. Well, perhaps not perfect, but it’s true that as we practise attentive listening, we get better at it. If I get too enthusiastic about my thinking, and my executive brain power is running low, I will probably still interrupt others sometimes… I’m only human! – but by trying not to, I also know that most of the time I am creating a space in which people are free to think about what matters to them.


🙌 Working with Jenn has been fantastic. Our most inspirational project together before this was the Oxford Forum, where we delivered an online global conference to over 100 senior leaders at Oxford University Press. Reuniting for this workshop felt like magic (and we’ll be doing it again soon – see www.workinglife.co.uk/stress)  


🌟Have you ever felt the power of truly being listened to, without interruption and with complete generative attention? If you have, what was it that made it so powerful for you?


 

👋 I am Cécile Jenkins

✨ Founder of Working Life and Executive Life Coach

💪 Giving people in busy jobs their mental fitness and wellbeing back

💫 So they can feel energetic and purposeful again – at work and at home.


🔔 Call, text or WhatsApp me on + 44 (0)7379 149470

🌍 Or find out more at workinglife.co.uk

💙 I look forward to hearing from you!



*I just noticed that we even wore each other's brand colours during this workshop - how incredible is that?! 🪄🔮 🩷💙




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