Tuesday, January 4, 2011

listen to your clients.

(this is part 8 of a 10-part series, a life's journey to become an herbalist observing gail faith edward's article on the subject. you can find part 1part 2part 3part 4.1part 4.2part 5, part 6 and part 7 here.)
gail's eighth step in her ten-fold path is to listen to your clients. she says:

"Listen to your clients. Practice deep listening. Breathe deeply from your heart when you are with a client. Look into their eyes. Listen to the words they use as well as to their tone of voice, where they pause, swallow, take a breath. Learn to listen deeply. Allow your client to tell you what is wrong, what they need. Then commit to helping them. Practice noticing everything you can about your client. Look for the health, look for the radiance, look for the bright light in your clients. Nourish this."

listening can be such a hard thing to do. and not just listening to the words, but listening to the tones, the vibrations, the emotions, the body language. i have a short attention span so this is one step i struggle with. luckily, i don't see clients often and usually, they are friends of mine and i am more willing to listen to what they have to say. 

so, i'm looking for guidance on how to listen deeply. how do you listen to someone (not just a client) who is talking about a subject that doesn't interest you? how do you stay tuned in even though you've heard it a million times before? how do you stay focused on their words, thoughts, emotions, body language? how have you learned to listen deeply?

1 comment:

Stephany said...

I think deep listening is almost more observation than it is using your ears. People can be saying one thing and mean entirely another. It is also hard for people like you and I to slow down and be attentive because our minds are always racing. I think you have to practice being in the moment.

Reflective listening is a wonderful way to make sure that you are hearing what the client is saying. When you are listening to some one, concentrate on listening well enough that you can restate what you are hearing to them for clarification and to check your understanding of the issue. That helps to keep your mind on what they are saying even when you aren't particularly interested.

I learned some techniques for this about it first when I took my NVC class a few years back but we covered it in the counseling/communication portion of my social work class. I am looking into getting into it more because I think a large part of being a good community herbalist involves the ability to communicate and counsel.

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