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listening in the cloud

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© Article translated from the book “Ascolto attivo ed empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace“. copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available. If you are interested in publishing the book in any language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani.

Listening while having prejudices is a wrong starting point. I call this “filtered listening” and it is normal, even natural. It happens every day. We judge any news that we hear based on our values and that’s even right. 

If we want to practice an active listening, thinking that the person we are listening to has exactly our value filters and mind maps is wrong. We must not take his/her answers for granted, and we must not get irritated when those answers are not what we expected or what we wanted them to be. They are not the answers we would have given. Active listening must always be neutral. 

In the flow of communication, we can hear something that will inevitably go against some of our opinions, values and more solid principles. 

As soon as this “against” data emerges, there’s the risk of becoming rigid and we may stop listening. On the other hand, it is essential for an advanced listener to know how to “suspend judgment” while listening to the entire communication flow, by postponing the “judgment phase” until it is time to do so. 

Every powerful question is like a goal hitting into the other party’s mind: if it gets blocked or doesn’t work, we might get angry. Let’s listen to our emotions without getting affected by them. Let’s move on: nobody is perfect but everyone can improve, even in listening. 

Listening in the Cloud 

Participating in listening means suspending our mental rumination and practicing mindfulness, bringing our mind “there” to listening. It means just listening while turning off all other thoughts. 

Listening “in the Cloud” is a type of listening practiced while our mind gets lost in thought, losing the focus. 

It basically consists in letting the words heard rumble in your head. It is normal that, while we listen, thoughts, memories, reflections come up. Equally normal is that internal reverberations can be created due to what we hear and other thoughts. 

All these thoughts can form a “cloud of thoughts” that completely absorbs our attention. In this way, our attention becomes self-centred – directed only towards ourselves – and we stop listening, even if the other “emits” words, these do not enter in our mind, becoming pure background noise. 

This “listening in the Cloud” can and must be interrupted by: 

  • moments of brief reformulation (so you were in Rome, right?), 
  • questions (in which area of Rome?), 
  • moments of recapitulation (If I understand correctly the story went like this …) 
  • non-verbal head movements (e.g., when we understand a concept we can say yes with the head, which does not mean that we agree but only that we have understood what our interlocutor is saying) 
  • short paraverbal punctuation (e.g., ah, uhm, ok) – paralinguistic messages serve as punctuation. 

The absence of background noises or distractors such as televisions, telephones, chats, and other disturbing elements, is fundamental. It is also possible to openly say: “I’m getting lost, you talked about David, and then what?” 

We can say without a doubt that at the basis of a communication/listening in the cloud there are chaos, mental disorder, an entropy state (degradation of a system towards chaos) where we are not able to understand each other. 

On the contrary, an active listening can produce a greater information order, it can pull out information, data, signals, emotions, and give them an order to create meaning. Not a small job. 

Empathic listening, by nature, is a process against chaos, entropy and the confusion of signals and meanings. 

 

© Article translated from the book “Ascolto attivo ed empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace“. copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available. If you are interested in publishing the book in any language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani.