One of the best ways to improve your listening is to have a clear goal – to know the state you’re aiming for. Listening well (like most other things) is different for every individual. So take a few moments now to get familiar with what listening well is like for you.
Think of a time when you were listening at your very best. For you, that was like… what? Perhaps there was a powerful connection between you and the person you were listening to; perhaps the outside world ‘disappeared’ or ‘went quiet’; perhaps it was as if the two of you were in a bubble. Your experience may be similar to these suggestions or very different – whatever is true for you is the correct answer.
Now ask yourself a few of Clean Language questions about your answer. These are questions which have ‘slots’ in them for you to insert your own words. The most common Clean Language questions are:
- What kind of X (is that X)?
- Is there anything else about that/X?
For example, if it was as if you were in a bubble, you might ask:
- What kind of bubble is that?
- Is there anything else about that bubble?
These questions will help you to become clearer about the kind of experience you have when you are listening at your best. And the more clearly you can imagine the experience, the more easily you will be able to start listening in that way when the next opportunity arises. Try it!