The sincerest form of respect is listening to what another person has to say. Hosts Christy Whitman and Frederic Gobeil talk about their thoughts on how to actually listen. They share their experiences on teaching coaches the way to listening and its benefits in life. Christy and Frederic also discuss the true meaning of listening and the distractions we have to remove in order to listen in order to really connect with people.
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The Art Of Listening To Connect
We are going to be talking about how to listen, especially to your partner. How do you listen? This idea for this came to me because I was literally relaxing on the couch and Frederic and I were having some issues with our son, Alex, of not listening. He’s a ten-year-old child.
It was great because Frederic just stopped and said, “Alex, I want you to be present.” I’m going to hand it over to Frederic because he was actually teaching him how to listen. I said, “That’s brilliant,” because most people don’t get sat down to talk about how do you listen to someone. I teach coaches for years on how to become a coach.
I Want You To Be Present
Part of the process of becoming a coach is you have to deeply listen. I thought about it and I’m like, “Coaches benefit so much not only in the coach training, but also in what they learn and all their relationships improve because now they’re learning the process of how to listen.” I’d love for you to share what you were talking with Alex about because it was brilliant.
Keeping in mind that it is a ten-year-old. It was a basic lesson. We’re all children inside. We don’t know how to listen, especially as guys, sometimes we just go into the empty space. I was noticing that sometimes we would tell my son something and he wouldn’t respond. Even when we were at soccer practice, I would notice his coach would tell him something and he would not even nod to him.
For me, that may irk me because I listen to the advice people tell me. When I noticed that he wasn’t necessarily listening to what we were telling him, it’s not ordering him around. It’s just telling him that, “Maybe you want to have your socks picked up or put into the laundry area,” and it wasn’t done. I was looking at him.
You’re watching him rolled his eyes in the back of his head.
Not only rolling his eyes, he was doing that but he was not there. I could feel that he wasn’t present with me or with you when there’s communication going on. That prompted me to say, “Alex, when we talk to you and we ask you to listen to what we say, do you know what it means?
Let me tell you what it means to listen to me when I talk to you. You’ve got to pay attention to my words. You’ve got to be connected with me and be fully present with me. What would work is, first of all, looking at our eyes when we talk to you so that you can get a sense of what we’re asking or telling you to do.”
That part was brilliant because he was eating and he was messing around with a cup and that kind of thing. Think about as a couple. I’m guilty of this too.
When we’re sitting there trying to talk to each other and my husband’s trying to tell me something and I’m on my phone checking my Instagram, watching TV, flipping the channels or going through emails. I’m not fully present with him or he is doing the same and he’s not fully present with me.
How to listen is you have to put the phone aside, you have to mute the TV remote or turn it off altogether. Put it aside and be able to turn and look at your partner, pay attention to their eyes and listen to what they’re saying.
Be 100% in your body and present in that moment, not thinking about what you’re doing in five minutes, what you did yesterday or five minutes ago. It’s right here, right now listening not only to the words but also to the energy that is being communicated from your partner.
I get it. He is also guilty of doing what he does in the sense of when we talk, he’ll be distracted with anything that’s happening. Whether it’s the TV that’s on, he’ll be distracted. He’ll look at the TV. He’ll be distracted with the dog or with his brother.
I Hear You
What I was trying to help him out with is when someone is talking to you, just to acknowledge by giving them a look in the eyes or at least look at the mouth. That will help too if you’re looking at the mouth so you recognize the words at the same time.
I was telling him, “That’s how listening is, Alex. When you focus on the person, then there’s an eye-to-eye connection. You both understand what’s going on. You’ve heard the message and now you can reply.”
[bctt tweet=”Make sure that you stay in your body when you listen. ” via=”no”]
You can acknowledge, “I hear you.” That diffuses the stuff between us all the time. I’m communicating something and he says, “I got it, I hear you.” That acknowledges that I’ve been heard. One of the things too that we wanted to talk about is when you are the one that’s communicating, in order to have the other person receive you in a way where they’re going to be able to hear you and not be defensive.
If Frederic was saying, “You’re never doing anything right. You always got your clothes all over the place.” No one wants to be talked to like that. It’s very hard to stay present when someone is shaming you, when someone’s yelling at you and when someone’s coming out with full emotions. It’s both parties, the giver of the information and then the receiver to be able to receive what’s happening.
When you are the communicator, you first want to check your own emotions. What I felt was brilliant with what Frederic did with our son that day is he didn’t have any emotion around it. He was like, “Alex, look at me. Be present with me. Look in my eyes and hear what I’m telling you.” He was very calm.
In that calm space, I could see Alex was very calm in his space and he was able to then receive him. If I’m super emotional or upset, if I’m coming to him and I’m super angry and my anger is speaking, he’s not going to be receptive to that emotion. It’s important to process that emotion when you are the communicator so that the other person can be present and be able to receive you.
What we’re talking about is coming from adult to adult. We’re talking about a ten-year-old, how many of us had that ten-year-old inside of us? When we start to relate to each other as children-to-children or maybe I’m playing the adult role and he is playing the child role. Now I’m frustrated as a woman to a man because I feel like my husband’s a kid and vice versa.
The man is saying, “I’m getting an order. I’m not doing this. I’m going to do it when I want to do this, not when I’m told to do this.”
It’s being the rebellious adolescent to mom. In our relationships, we want to come from adult-to-adult and not child-to-child or adult-to-child. We want to be able to process our own emotions, be able to communicate, think about what we want to say to the other person so that the other one can be in receptive mode.
Check yourself. The checklist to able to be present and to be an effective listener is you have to put any distractions aside. If the TV is on, turn it off. Instead of looking at the TV and hearing them, you’re not receiving it. Turn to each other, look at each other and be present with each other.
When you do that, you then are present. Check your own mind when you’re having a conversation so that you’re not thinking about, “What do we got to do on Tuesday?” “What happened yesterday?” You’re in the now moment.
I was telling Maxim, my son, “Make sure that you stay in your body when you listen.” Staying in your body could mean that take a few deep breaths so that you realize you’re in your body, you’re not steering away and you’re not going away. We tend to do that as well with our relationships.
We’ll take our relationship for granted in the sense that, “She’s always there next to me. She’s always there when I come back from work and she’ll talk to me about something,” and then all of a sudden you hear the first two words and disconnect. All of a sudden, he’s like, “Are you still talking?” You get that look. That’s the look where you’ve left your body. If she sees that look, you’re in trouble.
That’s another thing too. As you’re in the receiving mode of something that is being said, not only do you not want to fall asleep when someone or your partner is talking to you, but don’t scoff at them. Don’t make noises or roll your eyes.
I have a tendency of sometimes when I’m like, “Okay, whatever,” I roll my eyes. I have to be mindful if he’s coming to me with something that bothers him, that I’m not scoffing, that sarcastic stuff or the eye roll. Be present and act like you care because you do.
Act like you’re at work or during a meeting. You’re asked to be present, to be focused and to be there. Why wouldn’t you be there fully present with your partner?
Act like you’re talking to the most important person that you could ever think to talk to because you are. It’s your intimate partner.
Act like you’re talking and it was the first time that you met.
You’re interested in her or him. Think of a celebrity that you want to meet. If you met that person, you’d be hanging on every word that they said. This is the most important person that you have in your life. It’s your intimate relationship. That’s what we always say, it always starts with you.
Be fully present with yourself and then be able to be present with your partner. One other thing I wanted to share with that is don’t interrupt.
That’s a woman thing.
No, it’s not. It’s so not right.
Men come in the conversation when they hear their spouse say something and I’m guilty of doing that. It’s the same thing. I come in when she’s talking and trying to complete her sentence or finish what she’s saying. I’m trying to get what she’s saying so that it’s like fixing the issue. She doesn’t want any fixing of any issues. She wants me to listen to what’s going on with her and her emotions. Zip it, look at her, be present and see how she’s feeling.
He used to do that a lot at the beginning of our relationship. I remember having to say, “We train people how we want to be treated. We put up our boundaries.” Immediately since day one I would say to him, “I’ve just been interrupted and I do not appreciate that.” He would stop and he would do it again. I’d say, “I’m being interrupted again.” Instead of saying, “You’re interrupting me,” it’s, “I’m being interrupted. I have more to say about this.” He’ll be quiet and let me finish.
As I’m speaking, don’t be sitting there going, “How long are you going to talk?” Being in your head thinking of what is the thing that you’re going to say next to solve this problem? Try to be like the fix-it MacGyver guy. It’s like, “If I got to fix this thing and she’s going to want me to fix it, what do I have to do?”
Be present with what she’s saying or what he’s saying so that you’re not in your head thinking ten miles down the road of what you’re going to say next. If you’re thinking about what you’re going to say next, what your rebuttal’s going to be, what your defense is going to be, then you’re not being present.
[bctt tweet=”Once you are fully present with yourself, then you are able to be present with your partner. ” via=”no”]
How to stop the conversation to end it there, because that’s what we tend to do. We have a certain amount of attention and then we leave our body or we go on to another thought. What’s the score of the baseball game? We’re having a conversation but what do I need to do now? I want to go into another subject. I think what’s important is focus and stay there. Make sure that you stay with your partner and continue the conversation and have a great conversation together.
You can’t listen if you’re speaking. For more tips and information on how to get out of the drama and into love and be able to be fully connected and conscious and loving with your partner, Frederic and I have completed our 30-days From Drama to Love Program. We’re excited about it.
It’s a great program. It’s a video program every day for 30 days, sometimes two minutes, sometimes four minutes. It gives you each of the different aspects of being in a couple and being in the space of drama. We are happy to say that FromDramaToLove.com is available. It’s a 30-day program.
You’ll have the introductory video that tells you about it. You just click the link and it accesses you to these amazing, content-rich and life-changing videos. Watch them by yourself if your husband or wife doesn’t want to watch them with you. As you’re implementing it, the relationship is going to change. As you watch it with your partner, it changes exponentially.
Thank you for being with us and reading our stories.
Next time, we are going to talk about the three blocks to having love in your relationship.