You have likely heard of active listening and its great tips such as, smile, use eye contact, mirror expressions, ask questions, repeat & paraphrase back, etc. This is useful advice, not easy to master and takes a lot of practice to get right.

Sometimes this is not enough, sometimes we need to do better, sometimes we need to practice deep listening. If you are going to listening deeply you need to master one very important step, to be present. To be truly present means you need to stop the talking in your head that is either drifting off thinking about something else, thinking about what you want to say next, or what advice you want to give the person. You need to let go of your own needs and focus intently on the other person.

You need to clear your mind and just really hear them and engage in what they are trying to communicate. Hold back any judgement, any opinions, your solutions and genuinely be there for them. When you ask questions, you want to pick questions with the intent of further understanding like:

How did that make you feel?

What happened next?

How did that come about?

How did you respond to that?


We all go about our days thinking about ourselves, focused on our problems and what we need to get done which can lead to us engaging with people on a surface level. At the heart of it we all seek the same things, we want to be validated and we want to be heard. To give someone your time and just listen can make a real difference for them and helps you build trust and genuine relationships.