Are You Listening?

Sound and communication expert, Julian Treasure, is telling us that we are losing our ability to listen. Between our increased ability to create a sound bubble with our earbuds to being inundated with noise in open workspaces or coffee shops, we are becoming adept at tuning each other out.

Listening is a critical skill for attorneys and mediators. If we aren’t listening, we aren’t going to be effective.

What does it even mean to listen? Most of us think listening just means absorbing information. But what the listening Treasure is talking about, and the kind of listening that is meaningful, also involves engaging with the speaker. As a listener, you demonstrate to the speaker that you are not only hearing what is being said but are understanding the content as well. This understanding then creates a meaningful and powerful connection between the speaker and the listener.

In short, Treasure is talking about active listening. A connection established through active listening has incredible benefits. It helps the speaker ventilate emotions. It also builds rapport and trust between the speaker and the listener. In fact, active listening is so powerful, it is a critical tool of hostage negotiators. How great would it be to use a mediator who knows how to tap into the power of active listening!

Check out Julian Treasure’s TED talk here so you can start listening.

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