How do you create 'a listening'? Or, how do you create boundless room so that others can hear and absorb and can make use of your contribution?
For shorthand's sake, we're going to call this boundless space 'a listening.' This means a wide-open reception for you and your message in your audience's experience. Not in your experience but in THEIR experience.
Here are four premises for making that a reality.
First: Your Integrity
Creating a wide-open reception for you and your message requires being reliable and trustworthy. If you are not someone who's reliable and trustworthy, it's going to be difficult to create this generous reception in other people's ears.
This means you must have Structural Integrity: you do what you know is right, doing it when you know it's the right time to do it, and doing it in a way that is congruent with the situation and your values.
If you do not, people will listen cautiously because they don't know if they can trust you. People are afraid of being conned. Someone who wants to contribute to others in a big way cannot be viewed as a potential snake-oil salesperson and make the difference they came to make. After a time of being unreliable, or untrustworthy, you'll lose their listening entirely. Integrity is the number one way to build the opportunity for a generous listening.
Do people feel like they can connect with you, relating to you and your experience? Do they feel that they understand what you're saying? Most importantly, do they feel that you understand their situation, their concerns from their point of view?
It's useful to remember here that you're not trying to create a wide-open listening for every audience. For those people that you care about, that you find important -- your family, your friends, your colleagues, your specific audience -- create a way of being relatable. Being relatable means that they know that you understand their situation.
This is where your EQ becomes important. If you don't know much about EQ, google Daniel Goleman, and check out his work on this crucial topic.
How relevant (and in-tune with their current needs) is your message for your audience? Are you speaking about something that's important to them, or is of interest to them in their lives right now?
You don't necessarily have to agree with their point of view (not agreeing with that point of view may actually be your message). However, if you want to create a generous reception, you must be sensitive and thoughtful regarding how the issue or topic you're speaking about is relevant and matters to them right now.
Fourth: Listen to Them
Lastly, do they experience you listening to them? That's not just giving them air time. That's not just you being quiet and letting them talk. That's you listening to fully understand what they are saying and why they are saying it.
If you're listening to me, do I have the experience that -- even if you disagree with me -- you deeply heard what I said? Am I aware that you heard why what I said is important to me?
You cannot create a generous listening or wide-open reception for you and your message without those four things.
The kicker for each of these four is that you don't get to say whether these things are valid for them.
You must find out whether your audience experiences you as reliable and trustworthy. Find out whether your audience feels that what you're talking about is relatable to them and that your messages are in-tune with their world. Do they have the experience of you listening to them?
You will have to create some experiments to find out. Once you have the data, if it turns out that you need some fine-tuning, then there's your work.
Do that work so you can create a palate for your contribution.
Let me know how your experiments go in the comments below or email me at [email protected]
Have a great week,