Harmony: What Does It Take to Really Listen? #peopleskills

Harmony: What Does It Take to Really Hear Each Other?

Harmony: Image is balanced rocks.

Harmony: What Does It Take to Really Listen? Image licensed from Istock.com

Image licenced from Istock.com


In business, in life, and in world affairs, we seek the power of true harmony — without surrender.  How do we achieve this? Through great listening.  The question is:


What does it take to really hear each other?


I posed this question on social media to connections around the world and received these answers!

    To me listening takes having the willingness and ability to understand what is being said. ~@TomJ_Rhodes
    Great listeners give their undivided attention instead of being just physically present. They listen for facts as well as ideas. ~@FSonnenberg
    When we are listening to someone, we need to be honest both with ourselves and with them. If there is something we don’t understand, we need to get it clarified. ~@RoyAtkinson
    To truly hear someone, you should be able to reiterate what you’ve heard and understood, back to to the person you are having a conversation with. To be able to emphatically connect with their needs and respond accordingly. ~@gdiver62

    Pay more attention to what’s being told instead of waiting for the other person to stop talking and you thinking what you’re gonna say next. ~Rene Ferret
    Don’t fill the spaces with empty words. It is in silence I hear the most, for it is then I listen with my heart. ~@Cybuhr
    It’s hard to grasp what they are saying if focused on your own speaking and it’s much more powerful to be interested than interesting. ~@jolewitz
    Don’t listen to hear; listen to understand. ~@mooreconsortium

    Open your mind as well as your ears by discarding comebacks, prejudices, and preconceptions. ~@stratlearner
    Prevent the temptation of concluding what the speaker wants to say before finishing his or her words. ~@Khalid_Tweet

    While I agree with all the having an open mind etc… I also believe that the burden of listening falls on the communicator. Meaning, the person talking has to have the ability to frame information in a way that the listener can hear it. Conversations, especially difficult ones, go much smoother when the talker frames information in a way that the other person can hear it. ~@SabrinaLBaker

    For me listening is loving the “other” and forgetting about the “self” for that little moment. ~@MaaHoda
    Truly hearing each other requires a willingness to travel to the intersection of curiosity, respect, and transcending yourself. ~@TheHRGoddess
    In order to truly hear and take in another, there needs to be space inside. Practice getting to know, setting aside and emptying out your personal chatter and agenda. ~@BlairGlaser
    I can’t listen till I clear the clutter in my mind be it with what took place till then or planning or thinking about what is going on next. ~@rlalita
    What it takes to truly listen is to stop listening to yourself! It allows us to hear when words and emotions are in discord and ask questions to get to the heart of the matter. When both people listen on that other-focused level, it creates the space for bridges to be built where before there were only walls. ~@AlliPolin

    Being able to put yourself aside, all your own worries, thoughts, things you also would like to share with the person speaking to you — to be open enough to allow the words, feelings and thoughts of someone else to come into you. ~@AlaskaChickBlog

Harmony: Finding It Within

As I read through the answers and saw the pattern of willingness, openness, de-cluttering, and loving the other, I once again pondered — how? What stops people from listening to achieve harmony? Worries and fears of what?

  • Losing. When people see every situation as having only two options — winning/losing — it stops listening and chances for harmony. Believe in win/win!
  • Shortage. A close kin to fearing loss, is the myth that there is a shortage and one must compete for limited possibilities. It blocks the belief that harmony is success for everyone. It blocks great listening.
  • Weakness. There are people who believe any show of openness will be seen as weakness and invite abuse. Harmony is cast with this same shadow. Yet, the truth is that openness breeds understanding and respect. Influence follows!
  • Conflict. People often stay closed because they confuse disagreement with conflict. Ironic isn’t it? You can’t achieve harmony if you fear disharmony! However, communication can turn disagreement into understanding and reduce the chance of conflict.

Harmony: Surmounting Fears and Walls

Creating space for harmony does not mean being naive to those who would selfishly take without giving. So open up and listen vibrantly. You will spot inauthentic one-sided demands and request more openness for harmony. You can also suspend communication if, in the end, others do not want harmony without your surrender.

Strengthened with this self-confidence, open the gates to harmony.

    Remind yourself of those times in your own life when you have felt that you were genuinely heard. Many say that such an experience leaves them feeling respected and recognized as a person. That can’t be guaranteed but does seem to reflect that listening has a deep interest in who is being heard and respect for that person’s feelings and perspectives, not just in the content of what is being said. ~@DanOestreich

    Try “I hear you”. It may be a bigger gift than even “I love you”. See which works better for you. ~@AJManik

What ONE step toward harmony will you take in the year ahead?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Replace 5 Emotionally Triggered Statements
People Skills: Bursting Every Assumption
12 Essential Thoughts to Proficient People Skills

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

11 Responses to “Harmony: What Does It Take to Really Listen? #peopleskills”

  1. Khalid says:

    Wonderful post Kate. Thanks for being creative in delivering your message through our input! I like viewing my input in your post 🙂

    I always teach my kids the difference between listening and hearing. When they repeat the same mistake again I remind them that they weren’t listening go my warning… They simply were hearing the noise of my words but no the meaning 🙂

    I loved your choice of keeping that quote till the end:

    Try “I hear you”. It may be a bigger gift than even “I love you”. See which works better for you. ~@AJManik

    I promise to work on that in the coming year


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Khalid,
      Not only was your quote a great contribution, your story here expands this even more. We are models for children and all those we teach. A great calling and worthy of our time and effort.

      I’m humbled by your praise of how I put the post together and grateful for our connection.

      Best regards!

  2. Tom Rhodes says:

    Wonderful post Kate. I am honored you included my quote. Listening is one of the most difficult skills there is to learn. I ask myself daily when reviewing my day if I really did a good job listening effectively. Until I can always answer yes I still have work to do.
    Thank you for all you do.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      I’m with you on this one Tom — listening is a never ending learning curve and we achieve and we set that as a goal!

      Many thanks for your quote in this post.

      Best to you and yours,

  3. Jon Mertz says:


    Very insightful. At times, we may spend too much time determining how to respond rather than really listening to understand. We need to turn off our positioning thoughts and turn on our empathetic mindset. Starting with harmony as a key way to listen will change the way we listen from the start.

    Thank you.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Jon,
      I do think that our initial goal — be it harmony or something else — absolutely impacts whether we listen, how well we listen, and what we hear. So pleased you found this post valuable and grateful for your comment here!

      Warmest regards and thanks,

  4. Dan says:

    Hi Kate,

    This is so elegantly done. I loved the way you incorporated perspectives and comments of the #PeopleSkills community. The post provides some sage advice about listening AND it is an example of listening, as well. Kudos!

    All the best

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Many thanks Dan. I had been thinking of doing this post for awhile and it seemed perfect for this time of year.

      Grateful for your contribution and wishing you all the best!

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