When people ask me the number one skill they need to be amazing parents, my answer invariably involves listening.
While many of us think we are good listeners, the reality is that deep listening is not easy or something that really comes naturally to most of us.
We all have good intentions to listen, but in most cases, our listening is tainted by the thoughts in our own mind and other outside distractions. I mean, admit it - how many times have you been listening to someone while formulating the next question in your head?
To truly listen we have to clear our mind and fully focus on what the other person is saying.
This is particularly true when talking to our partners and kids.
Deep listening creates a bond between two people, and the feeling of 'being heard' is a very powerful one, which gives the speaker validation that what they are saying is important and that someone is there for them.
Another facet of deep listening, is not interrupting. Giving your partner, child or client the stage, and being there for them fully in the moment helps them to express themselves completely and helps the listener to really understand what is going on in others' world.
Listening from a still, quiet space helps you to get a clear picture of what is happening and gives rise to insights and solutions that can't be accessed with a busy mind.
So, next time someone is talking, put the phone away, close the laptop, clear your mind of all that's going on, and listen, really listen!