The power of listening

Ever felt guilty for taking time out for yourself? Yep, I certainly have, especially as I’m someone who tries to keep busy. Having a quiet night on the sofa and watching TV isn’t something I could do without wanting to get up and do something.

Whether it was the multiple lockdowns, sitting in the same room each day or going from an office environment full of colleagues to suddenly at home, I never accepted the impact it was having on me.

It’s hard, though, right? Busy with work, juggling lots and sat waiting for the next Zoom or Teams call. Yet as a communicator, I’ve felt the worry of needing to be upbeat, thrive on the pressure and write great content, but the reality, no one was expecting this apart from me.

I found myself looking out the window of the study, watching the trees blow in the wind, people out walking their dogs. I often tried to refocus, writing out my to-do list for the second time in a day!

Sharing my experiences from the Feel Good, Work Well programme.

Sharing my experiences from the Feel Good, Work Well programme.

Time to feel good and work better

I started the ‘Feel Good, work well’ programme earlier this year with Fresh Air Fridays. I wasn’t always coping with the lockdowns and needed to try and focus on my wellbeing. I didn’t know what to expect from the programme, but three months on, I have a new friendship group, techniques I can use but the biggest takeaway, listening without commentary.

Listening to others and not responding with solutions, fixes, or my thoughts was hard. The power of listening and acknowledging what someone is saying means I hear what they are saying. Previously, I’d be thinking about my response, even though the conversation hadn’t finished.

Listening without commentary is also a practice I’ve taken into the workplace. Taking the extra time to listen to what your audiences are saying to you, whether via the analytics from your intranet or during focus groups and coffee chats, gives you much greater insight.

So, next time you feel tempted to jump into a conversation with a potential solution or respond with your thoughts, try just to listen. I’d love to hear how you get on over in the Horizon Comms Guild group. If you are also keen to explore how to look after your own wellbeing, the Fresh Air Friday Facebook group I’ve found to be a big help.

Featured image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay