You want to be heard, I want to be heard, everyone wants to be heard. When we are heard we feel connected and valued. Unfortunately, most people talk quite a bit, but are heard very little. That could explain why feel so disconnected to others even if we talk to each other on a regular basis. According to statistics:
The question is, how can a person have deeper conversations? The key is to learn how to listen so that the person who is communicating feels heard and understood. Here are nine insights that will help you to have deeper conversations if you practice them.
1. Listen with intention. The key to effective listening is to listen intently. Simply put, pay attention to the person who is communicating with you.
2. Be fully present in the conversation. Don’t try to listen to the person and the television, surf the web, or play video games. Don’t listen and answer emails or try to text and connect. It just doesn’t work and you will irritate the person communicating.
3. Ask insightful questions. If you are paying attention, you will be able to ask pertinent questions that will broaden your understanding of what is being communicated.
4. Ask clarifying questions if you don’t understand. If the story or information doesn’t make sense, ask clarifying questions. This shows you want to learn and are interested in collecting all the information accurately.
5. Give conversations time. Don’t rush the person who is talking. People are always in a hurry, but you cannot rush deep and meaningful conversations. If you don’t have time to get into a deep conversation at the moment, ask to get together again at a better time when you can be fully present and engaged.
6. Be aware of your nonverbal listening postures. Folded arms give the vibe that you are angry or close minded. Holding your groin indicates you feel insecure. When listening, pay attention to all of your facial expressions, body postures, and hand motions. You can inadvertently look bored and come across uncaring just by looking at your watch. Allow your whole body to engage in the conversation. This is done by facing the person talking, putting your hands in a natural position, and keeping your legs on the floor.
7. Make eye contact. When you make eye contact with a person it tells them that they have your full attention. Make eye contact often.
8. Minimize distractions. If the T.V. is on in the background, loud music is playing, or if you are fidgeting with your cell phone, it will be hard to hear the other person. Your attention will be divided and you will only heard a small portion of the message being communicated.
9. Repeat back the information you heard to make sure it is accurate. This is an old trick I teach in premarriage class. Once the person has finished talking, repeat the highlights of what they said back in a summary form. This will help them to know you connected with them. If they need to clarify some of the details after your recap, they will have the chance.
Everyone can become a better listener by applying these nine insights to their conversations. In doing so, you will take your communication to the next level with others. They will feel heard and understood, isn’t that something we all really want?
“Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us. When we try to explain why they are so effective, we speak of strategy, vision, or powerful ideas. But the reality is much more primal: Great leadership works through the emotions.” (Goleman, Primal Leadership, page 1)
I walked into a local retail giant the other day and noticed that the employees were all busy taking care of the tasks at hand. Most of them looked very satisfied with what they were doing and enjoyed interacting with the customers. Overall, my shopping experience was very pleasant.
A few days later I went to another retail giant. This environment was different. The employees were busy but they didn’t seem to be very engaged with their surroundings. I walked by several employees and they didn’t even notice me, let alone offer even minimal assistance. After picking up a few things, I went to the checkout. The person behind the counter scanned my items and gave me my total. There was no personal interaction or any outward display of friendliness.
An “apples to apples” comparison on paper would show that both stores sold basically the same products, had similar pricing, and similar locations, but they felt completely different. Why? I believe the answer can be traced back to leadership.
The first store I visited had "resonance", which is described in the Oxford English Dictionary as: “the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection” or, more specifically, “by synchronous vibration.” (Primal Leadership, Goleman, Boyatis, McKee, page 18) This store had resonance between its employees and its customers. In other words, everyone was working together for the common good. The leadership team of this franchise understands that when the store employees are happy, when they feel like they are contributing to the company and the company is contributing to them, they will happily perform their jobs and their emotional energy will resonate with the customers, thus making their experience satisfactory.
The second store I visited reeked of dissonance. Author Goleman writes: “Dissonance, in its original musical sense, describes an unpleasant, harsh sound; in both musical and human terms, dissonance refers to a lack of harmony. Dissonant leadership produces groups that feel emotionally discordant, in which people have a sense of being continually off-key” (Primal Leadership, page 21). After a short visit to the store I could sense that the employees were generally discontent. They did not resonate with each other and certainly did not resonate with the customers. Statistics tell us that if the employees are dissonant, the leadership team is modeling it to them.
Resonant leaders are proficient in four domains. They understand the importance of each domain and are able to use them to create harmonious vibrations that ring throughout the corporation, company, or team. These are the four domains:
You need to be very aware of your own emotions. What makes you happy? What makes you upset? What keeps you going? What forces you to quit. If you know what drives you, you will be better able to steer your emotions in a healthy direction.
Being self-aware also means that you understand your triggers. Once you know and understand your triggers, you are better able to maximize them or minimize them in a wide variety of settings. Instead of spontaneously lashing out at an employee who isn’t performing up to standards, you can deal with the situation and remain under control. Leaders who do not understand their own emotion are more prone to exploding at the wrong times for the wrong reasons. This creates a feeling of insecurity in the organization that is very toxic and very contagious.
3. Social awareness
“Social awareness- particularly empathy- supports the next step in the leader’s primal task: driving resonance. By being attuned to how others feel in the moment, a leader can say and do what’s appropriate, whether that means calming fears, assuaging anger, or joining in good spirits. This attunement also lets a leader sense the shared values and priorities that can guide the group.” (Primal Leadership, page 30)
If a leader is not socially aware, they will ring out of step with the culture and miss the emotions of the moment. Neglecting people’s feelings and perspectives will rarely resonate in a positive fashion.
4. Relational management
Once leaders grasp how they are wired, are able to harness that energy in as positive force, and understand the culture in which they are plugged into, they can channel that energy into already resonating relationships which has a ripple effect throughout the organization.
Dissonant leaders rarely have the opportunity to practice relational management because they only know how to lead from a positional perspective. They may be effective in the short run because of their title, but they will eventually crush their subordinates.
Great leaders are resonant leaders. Now that you understand the difference, apply these principles to your ministry and be the leader God has called you to be.
I believe that a church will never grow beyond the spiritual capacity of its leadership. This is why leaders must passionately pursue their relationship with Jesus Christ. This must be done with attention and authenticity. The best way to take a spiritual snapshot of your life is to ask yourself several introspective questions. When leaders examine their spiritual lives it ensures authenticity and positions them to pursue passionate spirituality
The Friendliness Factor
Is Freshwater a friendly church? My immediate thought is “of course it is.” But what if my immediate reaction is wrong? According to one source I read, 85% of church people think their church is friendly to new people, but according to new people who attended those churches 85% of them indicated that churches were unfriendly toward them. Why the disparity? There is a disparity because most people at church are friendly; they are just friendly with their friends. Since they have relationships in the church they have others to talk with, but guests who come do not have preexisting relationships, thus see the church from a different perspective. According to church consultant and pollster Tom Rainer most guests who thought a church was unfriendly never let anyone know. They simply left and never returned. This breaks my heart and stirred me to reexamine the friendliness of Freshwater. So when asked if we are a friendly church, my reply is “we can be.” Here are ten strategies how. Some of these strategies apply to everyone; some only pertains to church leaders. I think all of it is helpful to understand
I read the book “Raving Fans” by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. The author states that people are so accustomed to poor service that when we are treated special we feel like royalty. Many churches struggle to provide adequate service let alone exceptional service with staff and volunteers. Blanchard suggests that companies [churches] ought to strive to make “raving fans,” customers who are absolutely thrilled with the experience they had while purchasing goods or services [or attending church]. Everybody knows that happy customers come back. Unhappy customers go elsewhere.
A courageous person is someone who steps up to the challenge, someone who is willing to fight rather that retreat. Someone willing to step up, and intervene, because they want to be a catalyst for change. At Freshwater, our vision statement is a rally cry for our church family to “courageously share the life-changing love of Jesus Christ in a real, relevant, and relational manner.” I believe that this generation, our generation, is called to courageously live out our faith in such a way that it makes a difference in the community and among our peers. I want to challenge you courageously live out your faith in five ways.
Why We Need To Be Equipped To Serve
My first real job was bussing tables. It wasn’t a glamorous job and it didn’t pay much, but it was a job, and I needed money to buy a car so I took it. On my first day of work I didn’t clean any tables or stack any dishes, I sat in front of a T.V. and watched training videos. I learned proper hand washing techniques and company policy. After watching six hours of videos I was sent home and told to come back again the next day. On day two, I was given a name tag, a tour of the hotel, and shown where the employee lockers were. Then, the manager taught me the dress code, explained how to properly wear an apron, and walked me through the kitchen to familiarize me with their methods and standards. She taught me how to properly clear a table and sanitize it for the next guest. When she was done, she told me to come back the next day for more training. I thought all the training was crazy because all I was doing was busing tables and how hard could it be?
I am often asked: “How do I study the bible?” That’s a great question. There’s no doubt it’s is a big book and can seem overwhelming at first. Some people try to read through it from cover to cover, winding up feeling defeated by the time they get to the book of Numbers (the fourth book in the Old Testament). I believe that anyone can study the bible as long as they know how.
Precept Ministries is known for teaching what is known as the inductive method of Bible study to learn more about God and his written word. The inductive method of Bible study is a three step process that can open a new door of scriptural understanding and will challenge you to apply what you learn. If you have never studied the bible on your own, the inductive method is a great tool to do just that.
This blog is for leaders. If you are in any type of a position of leadership, my thoughts will resonate with you. So, let me ask you this: Who are you listening to? Who is speaking into your life and are you listening to the right person or people?
Everyone has their fans, followers, critics, and naysayers. Your fans will cheer you on, and encourage you to go further and higher than you thought possible. Your followers will go with you, because they believe in you; they trust you, and know that you have their best interest in mind. Everyone has fans and followers, regardless if you are a domestic engineer or own your own business. Your fans and followers may include your spouse, children, parents, close friends, and maybe even your coworkers.
Are You a Renter Or An Owner?
There are significant differences between renters and owners. Take rental cars for example. I have driven dozens of rental cars and have never changed the oil in any of them; but the owner of Hertz or Budget does. They want the car to look nice and run right for the next renter. I have a rental property and none of my renters have ever replaced a furnace. They call me to take care of it. I paint the building and maintain the common areas. That is one of the reasons they rent, so they don’t have to take care of any of those maintenance issues. I own my own home and when the furnace goes in the fritz, I have to fix it because I’m an owner.