How to listen with your heart can be tricky.

You may have been hurt in the past, or you may be so busy and overworked that it is difficult to take time for yourself.

Listening with your heart will help you open up more, get closer to others, and create a stronger connection between you and the world around you.

The ability to listen is often taken for granted, but listening deeply requires more than just hearing words.

In this blog post, you will learn how to listen with your heart, why listening should be your number one business skill if you want to improve your business relationships, build strong personal relationships as well as how to become a better listener so you can set yourself apart from the competition. 


Different types of listening styles:

1. Active listening

 Active listening is a listening style in which the listener repeats back what they think the speaker has communicated. 

Listening in a way that connects with the other person's feelings and values. It is when you are fully present, understanding and respectful to the other person.

Understanding how to listen with your heart with active listening helps clarify and confirm understanding of both parties before continuing on to resolve an issue or problem, as it ensures that all parties are hearing the same thing.


2. Passive Listening (not recommended): 

how to listen with your heart

Passive listening is when we are not present to what is being said by tuning out our thoughts while focusing on formulating responses based on personal beliefs etc. If you've has some close tell you 'you need to listen more' or 'you aren't listening!', you might want to take the time to know how to listen with your heart.

Passive listening will not make you a better listener, if anything it contributes to relationship issues whether personal or professional. 


3. Reflective listening

Reflective listening is when the speaker feels that they are being heard and understood, this style of listening will help encourage more open communication as it promotes feelings of connection with those who we listen to.

Reflective Listening can be done by voicing one's own thoughts or emotions in response to what was said.


4. Empathetic listening: 

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Empathetic listening style is when we are listening with our heart and not just out of obligation or curiosity. How to listen with your heart this way can be difficult because it requires us to put ourselves in the shoes of others, but there's a good chance that we will feel better about whatever situation is unfolding before us.

It is important to know that active listening and empathetic listening are not the same things.

Active listening is when you're focused on what someone is saying, ensuring that they have your full attention and clarifying their point of view. 

Empathetic listening means understanding where people are coming from before responding with an opinion or a solution to help them feel heard.


5. Advocative Listening 

This is when listeners share a desire for change with those who need it most, and then offer support for their personal goals through advocacy.

This style is used as an empowering tool in situations where people feel unheard of or overlooked by others.


A listener can have all types of styles for different situations and conversations. Depending on the type of listening, it is important to be mindful and attentive. 

so where does listening with your heart come in?

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I feel the style that's great for listening with your heart is a combination of listening without judgement - empathy, AND active listening. Both can help us be a better listener in any situation!

Utilising both styles of listening can be beneficial for a variety of situations like business or personal relationships because it helps create a connection with anyone you are talking to.

It might sound strange at first, but with practice, this skill will help create better connections. You can start by focusing on how they feel right now instead of what they are saying.

Ways to listen better with your heart

Listening with your heart is about listening with your full attention, without distraction.

It's an open-hearted type of listening to that requires being fully mindful and present to what the speaker is communicating - a skill we all need in our lives.

Here are ways you can listen better with your heart:

  • Be present and mindful, listening with your full attention to the speaker.
  • Listen from a place of curiosity instead of judgment or trying to find "right" answers.
  • Make sure you don't interrupt when someone is speaking - show that you're interested by nodding your head in agreement or making comments like "I . ."
  • Listen to the speaker's tone, not just what they're saying.
  • Don't rush in with "solutions" or advice - this can shut down communication and make it feel like a lecture.
  • Be patient as you listen for both feelings and thoughts aloud from the speaker.


How to listen with your heart for business success

how to listen with your heart

The best listening style for business success is empathetic listening. (again, my opinion)

It will help you understand what your client wants and needs to make them feel heard, which in turn helps you create a better relationship with your customer.

As an entrepreneur, listening sometimes can be difficult to do.

You may feel like you are running around in circles, and your head is spinning with all the things that need to get done.  

There's a difference between listening with your heart and listening for a specific purpose.

Listening is an intuitive skill that comes naturally when we slow down our thoughts enough to stop judging.

Learning the art of Listening as an entrepreneur can make you more successful.

An entrepreneur who listens like this will be able to:

  • See things from other points of view
  • Endear themselves to others
  • Empathise with people's struggles and empathise with their happiness
  • Develop an understanding of what makes people tick--and how they can be more successful.

I love this quote that says - "The key to success in a conversation is not finding fault; it's creating understanding." ― John Powell


How to listen with your heart for improved relationships

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No matter the relationship, relationships are built on communication.

The key is listening! Listening is so important because, without it, you're missing out on a lot of valuable information.

It's not about hearing what they're saying but understanding what they mean and how their words make them feel.

We all have a natural instinct to listen with our head. But the truth is, when it comes to relationships, listening from your heart is what will make the biggest difference.

There are so many times we don't really hear what others are saying because we're too busy thinking of how to respond or what they might say next.

We can get stuck on one word and miss out on the whole conversation!

So what can help you with your relationships is to be in the moment.

Take a deep breath and put yourself in their shoes for a minute - if this was you talking, how would you want the other person to be receptive towards you?


Steps to listening with heart to create connection:

  1. Find a place to be with the person and make sure you are in an environment that is comfortable for both of you. Listen intently without interruption or judgment. 
  2. Reflect back on what is said as soon as possible by repeating it word-for-word if necessary, then paraphrase the person's thoughts back to him or her.
  3. Start by noticing the feeling in your body when someone is speaking to you. By being mindful of the sensations, thoughts and feelings that arise, we are able to be present with what's happening.


How to listen with your heart - Mindfulness

how to listen with your heart

Mindfulness plays a major role in listening and how we can build better relationships.

If you want to improve your listening skills, start by practising mindfulness meditation.

It’s a great way to calm yourself down and get connected with the present moment so that you have more compassion for what is happening around us.

It has been shown that being mindful of thoughts and feelings can help people be more patient, less judgmental and better listeners.

Mindfulness meditation is not a religion or practice, it’s about opening yourself up to all the life events that happen around you.

It might seem very difficult at first but with time the benefits will become clearer.

There are many ways you can practice mindfulness meditation.

  • One way is to find a time and location that you feel comfortable with, then close your eyes or look at the floor in front of you with nothing else on your mind other than what’s happening right now.
  • Another good exercise for mindfulness meditation is through breathing exercises like taking deep breaths and inhaling slowly so that you can focus more.

You will notice a significant increase in your ability to listen better, and also your ability to balance out any little frustrations you might have.

Mindful listening will improve not only your personal life but also your professional life.

With time, mindful listening can hone many skills that are valuable for both personal and business relationships, such as conflict management and empathy.


Why is it difficult to listen to with our heart

You might be thinking, all these sound pretty 'easy' so far but why is it difficult to listen in the first place? The answer is...

  • We all have an inner critic that tells us what we think other people are going to say.
  • We try so hard to anticipate the response of others and take it personally when they don't respond like we thought they would--what if you could stop taking things so personally, your world might change!
  • Sometimes we have different expectations for a listening conversation. For example, I want to tell you my story and you only want to listen so that you can get at what's wrong with me - this is also called "blaming".

This happens when we do not even understand what listening to with our heart means. The likelihood is that we are not aware of how the other person feels. 

  • It's easy to listen with our mind and tune out the feelings of emotional pain. But listening with our hearts is much more challenging because it requires us to re-evaluate some basic assumptions about ourselves, other people and life in general.


How can you reconnect yourself with what matters?

how to listen with your heart
  •  Focus on listening to your intuition or gut feelings. What is important to you?
  • Do a self-check, is there anything that needs attention in order for you to feel connected with others and be open-minded.
  • Create space: stop the multitasking, take breaks from social media, listen without distractions
  •  Practice mindfulness


Benefits of listening with your heart...

Just incase you skimmed down to this part...I wouldn't want you to miss anything, so these are benefits you get once you understand how to listen with your heart. 

1. Heartfelt listening is a way to communicate with others in a more meaningful way

2. It's about being fully present and engaged, but not talking too much

3. Helps you acknowledge the other person's feelings without judgment or criticism

4. It takes patience and practice, but it can make your relationships stronger 

5. You will feel less lonely, have better connections with people, be more empathetic towards others' emotions and needs. 


Wrapping up on how to listen with your heart...

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Once you master how to listen with your heart, you'll notice an improvement in your communication and connections.

Whether you’re engaging with a client, colleague, or family member, effective communication is crucial. We all know that sometimes it can be hard to get the words out and we end up sounding meaner than intended.

But there are simple things you can do to make conversations go more smoothly and avoid any misunderstandings in the first place and we've touched on that above.

One way is by using active listening skills like paraphrasing what someone said so they know you understood them correctly.

The other side of this coin is empathetic listening which helps people feel heard without judgment. Which style will work best for your needs?

Comment below on how much these conversation styles could improve your personal life and business relationships if applied regularly.

About the Author Funmi

Funmi is a Certified Functional Health Coach. She is passionate about helping female entrepreneurs transform from Stress and burnout so they can begin to thrive in their body and, by extension, their businesses. 

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