A Ting about listening

Active listening is a key to great communication and a required part of coaching that works.

In a group on Facebook Kasia Gurgul mentioned that the Chinese character Ting nicely sums up what’s needed for that kind of listening. I of course got curious and I found two images that describes the Ting character in slightly different ways.

The first image comes from Mastering Ting: the Ancient Chinese Listening Secret. It’s a long interesting article about listening.

Based on the Ting-character there are six elements/areas that are important. I rank them different from the article, all are important.

  • Be present. With body and mind.
  • Undivided Attention. Focus on the conversation and what the other person says.
  • Hear what’s said and how it’s said.
  • Mind, keep it open.
  • Eyes.
  • Heart, feel.

The article linked above also describes “The 3 Levels of Listening”
1. The Internal Broadcaster
2. The Attentive Listener
3. The Universal Listener

The second image comes from Mindful Listening. I like that it also mentions mindful listening. Mindfulness is about being present in the moment and situation.

A related approach is ‘mindful listening’, a concept taken from Buddhism and applied by the language educationalist Stella Ting-Toomey, to situations of intercultural conflict. She informs us that in the Chinese alphabet, the character used for ‘listening’ (as opposed to ‘hearing’) embodies ‘attending to the other person with your eyes, ears and heart’. The act of patient and deliberate listening is a sign of generosity, and an acknowledgement that you are taking the speaker’s needs seriously.

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