Growing bigger ears isn’t just about what you DO.
It’s also about what you DON’T DO.
1. Don’t react.
Respond coolly, objectively and non-judgmentally.
2. Don’t think.
Just perceive without interpreting or labeling.
3. Don’t perform.
Because some people view listening as a performance.
4. Don’t tell someone not to feel a certain way.
This cheats her out of having her feelings.
5. Don’t get bored.
Because that means you’re focusing on the wrong person ?
6. Don’t take over.
Instead, take IN the other person.
7. Don’t tell.
Instead, ask. (But not too many questions!)
8. Don’t give advice.
Unless someone asks for it.
9. Don’t usurp ownership.
Let the other person give birth to their ideas and realizations.
10. Don’t inflict your agenda.
Because listening isn’t about you.
11. Don’t one-up.
It’s a form of conversational narcissism.
12. Don’t use the other person’s comments as prompts for your clever little jokes.
It’s annoying and clearly motivated by self-interested.
13. Don’t speak.
Just stop talking for a while. Seriously. Let the silence make space for the other person to just BE.
14. Don’t impose your own structure.
Let the speaker pace the conversation.
15. Don’t fix.
That isn’t your job, and people don’t like to be ‘fixed.’
16. Don’t take too many notes.
Or else it will look like you’re too busy to listen.
17. Don’t ask, ‘Why?’
That word creates defensiveness.