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Listening to your own listening

Similar to Lucy West's Listening Stumbling Blocks article, this tool helps you and a partner reflect to track how your listening patterns

When we listen, our minds take journeys. Th ey make connections, they disagree, they ask questions. Sometimes this is okay, and sometimes it can be problematic because we stop hearing what the speaker is actually saying. Th is exercise will help you cultivate awareness of how you listen so that you can become a better listener. First, read the descriptions of the mental journeys and, in the second column, put a check by those that you know you take occasionally or oft en when listening to someone else. Th en go out and set an intention to listen mindfully to someone speak—perhaps a colleague, your boss, or a friend or partner. Aft er you spend some time listening, as soon as possible come back to this tool and indicate in the third column (How did I listen?) where your mind went while you listened. Don’t be hard on yourself if you didn’t entirely fulfi ll your intention—just use this as a tool to notice what your mind does.

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