Listening From The Heart


Those that have been to our live events know that our main dream and vision is to change the education system in the world to a one that would be empowering children to fulfill their potential and not of one that is focused on teaching them facts and figures.

One of my favorite movies on a teacher that I would love to have in this type of school is the one for the movie Freedom Writers. The teacher in the movie demonstrates one of the most important qualities that every leader should have and it is – Listening.

In the movie the teacher, Hilary Swank, realizes that she has no clue about her students’ world and, therefore, instead of teaching by speaking to them and coming from the all knowing position of authority, she realizes that if she wants to help those kids to learn and grow she will need to do it in a different way than the “old school methods”.

She realize, she needs, first of all, to listen not only to the words they are saying but also to what they are NOTsaying and most of all to what is in their heart.

In the old way of schooling a teacher’s job was to educate the kids. This meant that the teacher knowledge was more significant and much more valuable than what the child had. That meant that all the teacher had to do, was to speak and the child had to listen and do what is told. This is the command and control way, which is the old way.

In the movie we see how she realizes that there is no way those kids will ever truly listen to her and that instead she needs to listen to them. Listen from her heart not from her head. Only once she was willing to truly listen to what they had to tell her could she find a way to create trust with them, which allowed her to teach them.

Truly listening to another person demands a lot of courage, as you will need to let go of your ideas about the subject and the topic. It demands attention, care and most of all respect to the other. All those qualities come together when you listen.

Usually when people think about great communicators they think about people who could speak eloquently, persuasively and with confidence and intelligence. All this is true but it is only a limiting way of looking at communication. It is a one-way street.

When it comes to human relationships the most important part of communication is listening. That would be the Feminine Leadership way of communicating. Maybe that’s why we have one mouth and two ears so we can listen better, which proves that the important part in the communication is listening.

Teachers are not, usually, great listeners. They are too busy and self important in trying to get across their message and deliver the material they need to teach to actually remember that at the end of the day the most important person is not them, but the child.

What the teacher, in this movie, did by listening to the kids was to change her concept about what is her job as a teacher from educating them to guiding them how they can fulfill their potential. By listening to them she found a way where they started believing in themselves, started regaining faith in human spirit, and most of all, they trusted themselves and to see how amazingly special each one of them is.

My favorite scene in the movie is when she brings them to realize that although they think they are different than one another, that although they feel that they are the only ones that suffered and paid price, they are basically all the same under all the exterior of the outside and the fact they look different or speak different languages they are still all connected.

In order for this to take place she draws a line on the floor and each time she asks a question those that can relate to it need to stand on the line. This creates a meeting point for them, but it demands them to listen. Each time they meet on the line they communicate to each other – we share the same experience. This demanded from them – listening. The result was a life changing moment for those kids.

This could not have been achieved if she would have spoken logically and rational from her head. This could only be achieved because they were willing to listen and share from their hearts.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Listening from your heart can save you those thousands words!

Now I’m curious….

How do you make sure you are listening ?
Share with us in, the comment box below, your tips for better listening skills?

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Have a magical week! Vered

17 Comments

  1. Julia van de Griendt

    on 17th Nov, 14 12:11am

    0 stars
    (6 comments)  

    Dear Vered,

    I’m glad you choose the subject of listening.

    Most people don’t realise that they can grow as a person and also as an entrepeneur by ‘deep listening’.

    First of all I think it is necessary to recognize the other persons right to exist.

    I also need to be aware of what’s on my mind before we start. I don’t want to be destracted by something that’s occupying my mind.

    Then, I think it’s important to be aware that I can never know the person I am listening to. I don’t know their story. So I try to be open. I try to be aware of my inner prejudices.

    When I have a dialogue, I know I never can control the other(s). I only know my own intentions, and even those can change during the conversation. So I try to be flexible.

    When I’m listening, I give time and space to the one who´s talking.

    Another important part of listening is asking the right questions. In my experience open, non-controlling interventions are invitations to talk.

    And, I also listen with my eyes. I note the non-verbal stories of the speaker. It gives at least as much information as the spoken words.

    Nice to meet you again next week!
    Julia

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  2. Leni Minderhoud

    on 12th Nov, 14 10:11pm

    1 stars
    (52 comments)  

    Great article!
    And just at the right moment. Listening, also when I give trainings, is the basic. Starting with asking questions and then listen, makes people present and engaged.

    And at the same time I have this mission to spread the word and knowledge…. and I keep on talking….agggrrhhh…. I am conscious that I am switching from one modus to another.

    Next Friday I will give a training again and this article inspires me to put emphasis on LISTENING. Because people like to get ATTENTION. I can see it in their eyes. Also during trainings.

    A real challenge in a full program.
    Love, Leni

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  3. Naomi Dongelmans

    on 12th Nov, 14 10:11pm

    1 stars
    (54 comments)  

    What I do to listen?

    Really lean back and observe, let the patient tell the story. I am really open for the patient, and they feel that and tell more easily their whole problem.

    I am a teacher as well (in salsa and for doctors in training to become a GP), and sometimes I want to talk a lot. I know they only remember about 20% what I tell, so I try to let them speak more and try to get the solution themselves. That way the repeat it more and remember it better.

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  4. Marjolein Kalter

    on 12th Nov, 14 04:11pm

    1 stars
    (66 comments)  

    Giving space to silence helps me to listen better…

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  5. Willy Triest

    on 12th Nov, 14 01:11pm

    0 stars
    (2 comments)  

    Dear Vered,
    thank you for sharing -once again- your valuable insights.

    Throughout this entire article, I perceive the foundation of what you and Nisandeh taught us in every Open Circles Academy Course: if one’s not there from the heart, things won’t work out.

    As many already stated above, true listening has to do with being present. But what does ‘being present’ actually mean? Well I guess there are many answers to that, however I think they all come down to one aspect: there has to be a connection with the other person or with the situation.

    Now this can only be achieved if one cares enough to offer the time, the space and the openness. To listen is to respect. Listening requires a kind of commitment in a way.

    In my pre-Open Circles Academy time, I used to communicate mainly by talking. Because that’s what most of us learn traditionally.

    Now I’ve learned that I not only receive so much more from listening, I also experienced that I offer so much more by listening as well. Amazing paradox!

    All this to say that sheer communication skills are merely a technique to exteriorate a much more profound relationship. This relationship becoming a starting point then.

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  6. Marjolein Kamstra

    on 12th Nov, 14 12:11pm

    0 stars
    (15 comments)  

    Hi Vered,
    Great subject. Listening also means putting away your ego.

    Clients don’t need me to tell them what to do. They need help in HOW to do it. They need help with the next step. By listening to them they tell me what this next step is.

    cheers, Marjolein

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  7. Michaëla Wierdsma

    on 12th Nov, 14 10:11am

    0 stars
    (15 comments)  

    Nice reminder, this article Vered

    1. Be there with mind and body: what’s your body language, how do you seat or walk, does your face show reaction -> eyebrows, smile nod your head, do you mumble yes/no etc.

    2. focus on the eyes

    3. and during good talks in the car, tell them to stop if you have to concentrate for a moment on driving.

    4. DON’T interrupt and tell your story.

    Have a great day.
    Michaëla

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  8. Ingrid Martine

    on 2nd Oct, 12 03:10pm

    0 stars
    (1 comments)  

    Listening is the realization in action that the speaker is the most important person in your world right here, right now.

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    • Vered

      on 2nd Oct, 12 03:10pm

      4 stars
      (281 comments)  

      Dear Ingrid,

      Thanks for putting it so clearly and to the point!

      On another note – It would be great to see your face when you
      comment on the blog. If you could take a few minutes and go
      to http://www.Gravatar.com you would be able to upload your photo and
      other people in the community could connect with you more
      on a personal level.

      It’s always easier when you have a face to connect to an important
      message as you just contributed.

      Have a magical day! Vered

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  9. Ingrid Verbeek

    on 1st Oct, 12 11:10pm

    0 stars
    (18 comments)  

    Hi Vered,

    Great Article. This is what it is all about. Especially in this day and age with all the distractions that take you away from where you physically are.

    For me it is being present and asking questions in line with the conversation. Not really listening to the words, but to what is being said. Not thinking about what you would like to say next. Be there for that person and building that relationship.

    Thanks!

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  10. Catrin Geldmacher

    on 1st Oct, 12 10:10pm

    0 stars
    (13 comments)  

    Thank you so much.
    Do you know “non violent communication” by Marshall Rosenberg?
    It is about understand first and then being understood.

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  11. Liane

    on 1st Oct, 12 01:10pm

    0 stars
    (3 comments)  

    Learn to create rapport. First ‘follow’ the person you are communicating with. In fysiology and speak. And create a contact from heart to heart.

    What I have learned from my oldest son, whom is now 3,5 years old. Is that he tend to speak more if I am not ‘right in his face’ and has space around him. If I sit next to him (in the same way) and lower my voice, he is more willing to speak from his heart. Also in the car. His father is the same 😉

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    • Vered

      on 1st Oct, 12 01:10pm

      4 stars
      (281 comments)  

      Hi Liane,

      Thanks so much for the valuable suggestions you’ve given.
      Some of the points that you are mentioning is part of what
      we call Communication Styles which I teach in the
      Communication for Success Day.

      In any case it is great that you have noticed those issues.

      On another note – It would be great to see your face when you
      comment on the blog. If you could take a few minutes and go
      to http://www.Gravatar.com you would be able to upload your photo and
      other people in the community could connect with you more
      on a personal level.

      It’s always easier when you have a face to connect to an important
      message as you just contributed.

      Have a magical day! Vered

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      • Danielle Stephan

        on 13th Nov, 14 01:11pm

        0 stars
        (1 comments)  

        Dear Vered,

        If you would like to connect with all of your fans, students, subscribers and contributors on a more personal level, it would be great if you would respect their decisions.

        Might I even say- encourage- their individual way they want to represent themselves.

        Not everyone likes to put a picture on their profile. Not everyone likes to use Gravatar, on which your picture is automatically used on multiple websites. The reason why people choose not to, is irrelevant.

        This remains of course, your blog. With fantastic blogs and content. And although you do not demand to put a picture on the profile, is does feel like a requirement for people to actively participate.

        Thank you for your time and consideration.

        Danielle Stephan

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  12. Klaartje Loose

    on 1st Oct, 12 09:10am

    0 stars
    (15 comments)  

    Better listening tips?
    *Be really present, be with the person that shares something with you. That obviously includes not checking your smartphone, computer or agenda, but it also means ‘don’t make a grocery-list while you pretend to listen to your child 😉 ‘
    *Don’t comment on their story, let them talk first.
    *Ask questions instead of giving advice unasked for.

    If I do this, the connection between the story-teller and me (the listener) is so much better. I need to remind myself on a regularly basis, especially about the “don’t comment”tip 😀

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    • Vered

      on 1st Oct, 12 11:10am

      4 stars
      (281 comments)  

      Dear Klaartje,

      Great Tips! especially my favorite – BE PRESENT! In today’s hectic and attention deficit
      world maybe this is the one and most important rule that we all need to remember!

      Have a magical day!

      Love and light, Vered

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    • Marjolein

      on 12th Nov, 14 04:11pm

      1 stars
      (66 comments)  

      Hey Klaartje,
      I agree with you on the comment part.
      Even more. Reacting to someone’s words can be undermining what the other person says.

      I have a quite associative and creative mind. Whenever I react from the association, I am just in my own world instead of really listening.

      Your words helped me to re-mind that.
      Thanx!

      Marjolein

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