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How do we listen not only to what is being said but the invitation people give us to hear more?
And then how do we use our listening to notice people’s deeper needs after we’ve gotten to a comfortable place with them?
I think that listening is one of the primary ways we show people we care about them. So when we listen well to others we are saying that I value you and I value what you have to say. It’s a way that we can restore dignity to people.
Oftentimes we are working with marginalized people who have had a loss of dignity and when I listen to you and I notice you, I am conveying to you that I do care about you and you have dignity and worth as a person.”
What I’ve found in conversations is that people want to share about themselves but they first want to know that you are interested in them. They want to know that you’re a safe person to share about themselves. So what I kind of think of is: Oftentimes in conversations, people will give you a little bit of information. Like a little tidbit. It’s almost like they’re cracking open the door to a story or to their lives (to something they want to share with you). And they want to see what you’re going to do with that door that’s cracked open.
So then how do we notice those little tidbits that people give us? How do we notice the cracked open door and respond in a way that invites people to share whatever they have that they want to share? I think it’s by asking a question.
So the art of noticing allows us to connect, go past small talk and learn things about each other.
You know, what if, when we notice people we’re not only saying, “You not only matter to me” but we’re showing them that “You matter to God”? And that when we connect with them we’re showing them that, “You have inherent value and worth. And you’re worth people noticing and taking note of.”
What if when we listen well and we notice things, what if we can notice things that people aren’t even aware of that they’re sharing with you? You know, their deeper cries out for God in their heart or their deeper needs. Sometimes people just subconsciously are crying out for these things and they might not even know it. So if we notice it and we’re at a relationship level that we can ask a question about that, that can awaken them to their own deeper needs… for God and for other things. For connection and things like that.
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TRAINER: Tara Penner-staff team, EDM
SOURCE: Volunteer Training Workshop (2017 10), Edmonton
POSTED: Oct 2017