Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Improve your listening, improve your life.

At a recent workshop I gave my participants time to simply listen to each other.  The experiment was for one person to talk about a concern while their partner listened intently but didn’t say a word.  The listener remained silent for a long 4-5 minutes and then summarized what the speaker said.  The speakers remarked that it felt “weird” to talk without interruption for that long.  The listeners said that they had never sat that long without interrupting.  Some of the listeners doubted the worth of such prolonged silence. However, when we reversed roles, these listeners-turned-speakers realized the power of uninterrupted speaking.  At the end of the 4 hour workshop, most participants agreed that the simple “listen without interrupting” experiment was the most important part of their day.  Many felt that the silence helped both the speaker and listener learn more about the issue.  Many vowed that they would strive not to interrupt others at work and at home. 

Ready to try this experiment?  Set a goal of listening to someone speak for 5 minutes without interrupting.  Make sure to keep eye contact, nod and/or make sounds to show you are listening.  In some cases this may make the speaker uncomfortable.  We aren’t used to receiving such rapt attention.  If necessary, summarize what the speaker has said to reassure them that you are listening.  After listening you may find that you’ve discovered deeper insights into a problem, situation, or another person.In addition to helping with creative problem solving, deep listening develops empathy for others and helps build teams. 
© 2013 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How body habits affect the mind and emotions

I've been very interested in a field called "embodiment" which looks at how posture and other body habits affect the mind and emotions.  The info on this video may seem a little "woo woo" but it is based on science.  Finding ways to alter how/when/how often we use technology may be helpful in our daily lives.  An experiment:  on a day off, leave your technology at home and spend the day in nature.  Research says that this can help our minds and even immune systems.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Benefits of handling conflict well

Learning how to handle conflict well yields enormous benefits.  Here are some to consider:
When we bring up opposing ideas, we know that others will listen.
·         When we argue ideas everyone feels safe to be honest.
·         We find the best creative solutions to problems by examining opposing viewpoints.
·         We respect each other and are not troubled when we don’t agree. 
·         We are able to respectfully critique each other and hold each other accountable for stellar work.
·         We are more productive because there is less time wasted on grudges or gossip.
·         We have much better working relationships. 
·         We know and understand our colleagues better because we don’t shy away from difficult discussions. 
·         We enjoy our jobs more, and are able to challenge each other to do better work. 
·         Our teams are stronger.
© 2013 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved