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How to listen the way women want you to.
“If you are somebody who listens it gives you advantages in all walks of life. Persuaders, influencers and leaders are people who really listen.” – Julian Treasure
Have you ever been working and you simply couldn’t concentrate because that annoying guy in sales was so loud you could hear him clear across the room? There’s actually a scientific reason it bothers you and lowers your productivity. Joining us to give us insights on to why that is and how powerfully sound impacts every other aspect of our lives is Julian Treasure.
Julian is a sound expert and Ted Talks speaker who helps people understand the importance of conscious listening. On episode 320, a few of the topics we touch on are the four ways hearing touches you and impacts you, why the listening stereotype about men has some truth to it (and what we can do about it) and how we can fix some poor listening and speaking habits. Join us for an interesting and informative show!
All of us are greatly impacted by sound in our lives, but few of us are fully conscious of it and even fewer of us are conscious listeners. When you walk into a store that’s playing loud pop music notice how your body speeds up and actually wants you to get out of the store faster! Our guest for this episode says the retailer didn’t take sound into consideration when they designed their store.
This behavioral response is rooted in our body’s awareness of sound: if it’s loud, we move away from it and if it’s quiet or soft and soothing, we slow down. There are three other ways our bodies respond to sound: physiological, psychological, and cognitive.
When it comes to the physiological, our bodies will speed up or slow down according to the sounds we hear. If there’s loud music like in a dance club, our heart rate quickens, and our blood pressure goes up. If we are listening to the sounds of the ocean, our heart rate slows down as does our blood pressure. Sounds can even change our hormone secretions, the sense of sound is incredibly connected to our physiology and has been since we were in the womb.
The psychological response to sound is similar. If we’re listening to birds sing, we become calmer and more at peace. Over the centuries our bodies have understood that if the birds are singing than everything is ok in the outside world and we don’t have to be on the alert. If we’re walking in the forest by ourselves and we hear a branch snap behind us, sound immediately tells our brains to look around and make sure we are not in danger.
And cognitively, we are bothered by loud conversations while working because our brains can only take in about 1.6 conversations at any given time. That means someone’s conversation can be so loud you cannot think or concentrate, and thereby lowers your productivity in a loud office or working space.
So how does this tie into conscious listening? Simply by being aware of our bodies’ responses to sound we can see the immense value in what we’re saying and how it’s being received. If we understand that every sound, every word has an impact and a response in those around us we start to become aware of the necessity of conscious listening. And we can take this awareness into every aspect of our lives, including relationships.
On the topic of relationships, Julian goes on to explain the nuggets of truth in the gender stereotype of men as poor listeners, but he says men can overcome this. Men tend to listen to hear a point and then offer a solution, most of us already know this. But that’s nearly the opposite of how women speak and how they listen: they do so to share and relive an experience with their listener as a way to connect, they don’t talk about problems because they want them fixed.
A way for men to be better listeners in that situation is to ask the question: where am I listening from right now? If you catch yourself listening from a place of wanting to fix, be conscious of it and practice moving into what Julian calls “empathetic listening”, which is the type of listening and communicating women naturally use. Empathetic listening can mean offering her a glass of wine and your undivided attention while she shares.
That tip ties into Julian’s recommendations to become a conscious listener and to change your bad speaking and listening habits. Simply by being aware of where you’re listening from, the pace you’re using with your voice, the register of your voice and your intonation you can begin to become a more active listener and a more conscious speaker.
And there’s lots more where that came from. Julian was a “treasure trove” of knowledge (see what we did there?) on this episode, he gave us a lot of excellent material to start shifting our listening to a more conscious place. It was great to have him on the show and I hope you enjoy the episode! Thanks for being here and we’ll see you next time.
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