A Lesson in Mindfulness and Connection
Do you know who are good listeners?
As humans, we often take pride in our communication skills…even when they’re not so good!
Luckily, all skills can be learnt and improved.
So today, we are going to sit back and let our furry friends do the training…
Dogs have an innate talent for attentive listening that can teach us a thing or two about communication and connection.
Let’s just look at this lovely fluff called Bess.
Does she look interested?
Could you walk away from that face?
Those eyes? Those ears…?!
If we stop for a moment to think about it, we can agree that something about this look prompts us to respond with more information.
In fact, Bess is:
✔ Facing us.
✔ Making eye contact.
✔ Tilting her head to one side.
✔ Lifting her ears.
✔ Making us feel safe.
While this is certainly cute, it’s also very effective and (surprise, surprise!) works when humans do it too!
Let’s explore it a bit more.
✔ Facing the speaker and making eye contact = Being present in the moment.
When was the last time you truly immersed yourself in a conversation without distractions?
Dogs excel at being present in the moment, free from the burden of multitasking or preoccupied thoughts.
By demonstrating unwavering attention, and keenly observing body language, tone, and emotions, we can engage in more meaningful conversations, fostering deeper connections with others.
✔ Tilting the head to one side = Non-Verbal Communication.
Words are just one aspect of communication.
Dogs rely on body language, facial expressions, and vocal intonations to comprehend their human companions.
By sharpening our observation skills and tuning into non-verbal cues, we can uncover the true essence of what others are trying to convey, fostering better understanding and empathy.
✔ Lifting ears = Active listening.
When dogs engage in active listening, they demonstrate that listening is an active process, not a passive one.
By adopting active listening techniques, we can bridge communication gaps, avoid misunderstandings, and cultivate more meaningful connections.
✔ Making us feel safe = Acceptance
Dogs listen without judgment or prejudice.
This makes us feel safe and allows us to speak freely and be vulnerable.
By embodying their non-judgmental attitude, we can create a space for authentic self-expression, allowing others to feel heard, accepted, and validated.
Be curious, not judgemental.
Whether that’s in a personal or work environment, listening is a fundamental part of building relationships that last and benefit everyone.
Whether you’re speaking to a colleague, a friend or a customer, make sure you create a safe space for everyone:
✔ Face the speaker.
✔ Make eye contact (if acceptable in your culture).
✔ Use non-verbal communication to reassure the speaker of your interest.
✔ Stay focused.
✔ Really listen, don’t get distracted by planning what to say next.
By embracing the wisdom of listening like a dog, we can bring more presence, empathy, and connection into the workplace.
So, let’s take a cue from our fluffs and embrace the art of listening like dogs do.
Since 2006, The Motivation Agency has been helping businesses create environments where people can grow, thrive, and succeed.
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Learning Specialist and e-Learning Developer
An Electronic Engineer, Beth started her career creating technical, maintenance and operator manuals for land-based and naval radar systems at Plessey Company plc.
Her eye for detail and ability to translate complex information into easy-to-understand and engaging content allows Beth to create courses through which users can digest and assimilate extensive concepts effortlessly.