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Entries in listening (2)


Listen by pushing the arrow.


We all know the conversational hijacker.  This person hijacks your story in order to talk about themselves.  They leave your story by exclaiming, “The same thing happened to me, too;” then proceed to turn the attention from you to them.   Your pain just became an opportunity to talk about their pain.

It’s easy to shanghai another person’s story by using it to talk about our experience; especially when theirs sounds so similar to ours; but doing so forces the hurting person to take care of us now. Sharing our own experience too quickly doesn’t always build a bridge to them as we imagine it would.

When engaging another person, stay in their story.  Don’t hijack their story to talk about yours. 

"Push the arrow:"  the antidote for The Hijacker

This idea is from Adam McHugh; The Listening Life.  McHugh asks us to imagine a large arrow hovering in the space between us and the other person. The arrow will always swivel towards the person who is getting the attention.  McHugh say, "So, as the listener in this conversation, your goal is to keep the arrow pointing at the other person for as long as possible."  Make the conversation about them.  The arrow will always want to return to you, however, so pushing it towards the other person requires vigilance.1

Push the arrow.



1.  The Listening Life, Adam S. McHugh; p. 143


You Are A Force Multiplier.



If you listen deeply so that others feel seen, heard and honored, you are a "force multiplier."

In the military, snipers on over-watch are called, "force multipliers" because they guard the forward advance of ground troops, insuring that an area is cleared of enemy presence prior to the arrival of ground forces. The sniper is "multiplying" the force or effectiveness of the ground troops by caring for their safety.

When people feel more securely grounded because of your focused attention, you are multiplying their effectiveness, or force strength. You are mending the broken heart that their own life and ministry flows from. As they heal, their force effectiveness multiplies.

Souls repair through listening.  According to Robert Logan, the word "equip, as in "equipping the saints for ministry," can mean, "put into working order," or in other places, "repair." In classical Greek, "equip" can mean, "the setting of a broken bone." (Thanks to Father Andrew of HeartSync Ministry for the reference here.)

Those who help others feel well-heard are Force Multipliers who "equip the saints for ministry."  When you listen deeply, you are Force Multiplier.