Compassionate Conversation Toolkit: Heartful Listening

Courtesy of Eric Muhr @ Unsplash

Heartful listening is an and process of sustaining focused attention on the speaker, in the .

because I am filtering out distractions (i) from the immediate external environment (including my phone), and (ii) arising internally from my own biases and filters.

because I am attending to tone of voice, somatic expressions, and word patterns. Often I find it useful to alternate between listening with my eyes closed (but still facing the speaker), and looking intently at the speaker, for brief moments.

The above is more likely to be achieved when my ’s not around because it means I’m less inclined to judge, categorise, become impatient, or succumb to the temptation to “be right”.

Heartful listening often involves:

  1. , i.e. a pause is not always a reason for me to speak. Sometimes, silence is the space where the speaker needs to process certain emotions, or decide whether to go deeper, or is searching for words.
  2. (not parroting). That’s when I reflect (like the surface of water) back what I heard to check for understanding, and to let the speaker know that I have in fact been listening. Click here for a simple how-to guide.
  3. Heck, throw in a smile! Just because heartful listening is serious business doesn’t mean you need to look all sombre and serious. A sprinkle of lightness goes a long way to soothe a troubled soul.

In the presence of heartful listening, a few things happen (to the speaker):

  1. , and that’s when their innermost voice feel safer to emerge.
  2. ”, and thus make room for alternatives they were previously unwillingly to let into their hearts.
  3. People gradually begin to , and this is the most precious gift of all.

By the way, all the above can be practiced by you, on yourself, as well 😊 It can also be practiced on someone you disagree with. Try it. It may not be as radical as you may think.

PS. If you are curious about how I came to compassion, click here 🌹

Executive Doctoral Candidate * 6x Entrepreneur * Nonviolent Communication Mediator * Healing & Reconciliation Facilitator * Compassion Coach *

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