Stop Doing #Listening and Start Being a #Listener with Colin Smith

Imagine what could be possible if we learned to listen first? Better flow, understanding and win-win solutions that transcend cultures, beliefs, and languages. Leaders can learn how to provide a safe space and trust for a challenging conversation, which allows for a more dynamic interaction among team members, empowering them to seek solutions themselves and become proactive rather than reactive.


Colin Smith, also known as The Listener, shares stories and gives practical tips as to how to listen with deep impact. He has an innate ability to listen to people deeply and hold space which enables people to open up and share their concerns, feelings, ideas, etc. His varied background, view of the world, and inquisitive and curious mind enable him to share unusual, thought-provoking, yet grounded observations and alternative approaches to business, people, systems, and change. 


In this episode, Colin shows the many facets of how people are literally “dying” to be heard, and he shares how we can manifest a listen first attitude in many ways and with every opportunity we have. This approach is how we get people to also listen to us. 


Listen first, listen always, all ways. All the different ways you can listen, always do that. Because we’re all dying to be heard.” 

– Colin Smith

Listen IN Notes:


00:40 – The moment he noticed the power of listening: The idea of disruptive dialogue is you sit with someone for two or three hours, you have a deeper, meaningful conversation, you ask lots of good questions. And it really gets them thinking because it’s an unusual conversation. 


05:36 – What made people notice he had a gift for listening: It’s not about DOING listening. It’s about BEING a listener. It’s about how you arrive, how you show up, your presence, your intention underneath all of that.


09:52 – Sharing his deep thoughts about disruptive dialogue and how it shifts the environment into something that opens doors for interactions and flow of ideas.


14:21 – What happens when a leader gets genuinely interested in what others have to say in a meeting?


17:15 – How do you make people listen to you?


20:25 – What does it take to have that clarity of communication?


24:43 – One beautiful moment about listening that he didn’t really expect 


27:05 – Transforming the word ‘conflict’ in a different perspective that makes sense


28:48 – Creating trust and safety around difficult conversations


34:45 – What Colin wants leaders to learn about listening.


38:51 – Differentiating hearing from listening


40:51 – What he wants listeners to take away from listening versus hearing: Don’t try and fix the problems. Let them come up with something that they think.


42:23 – The best thing about being the listener: “When I listen first, at the end of it, they can actually go away from a conversation thanking me for such a great time and telling other people what a great time they had. Actually, I say, all I did was listen. And that’s because it is so unusual. It’s seen as special.”


44:15 – What Colin discovers about himself in this conversation with Raquel: I appreciate your listening because you’ve enabled me to think better and come up with some new ways of expressing what I express. 


46:33 – Is there a rule to follow when you listen first?

Key Takeaways:


“If we all learn that idea of listening first, then we start listening without judgment, with curiosity, with interest, with equality, with ease. Then everything flows much better.” – Colin Smith


“When you’re listening, the most important thing is to BE a listener. And that’s really different. It’s about how you arrive, how you show up, your presence, your intention.” – Colin Smith


“When we take the time to be interested and genuinely interested in the other, we might get a surprise.” – Colin Smith


“Just because I have an answer doesn’t mean it’s the right answer. Let me ask you what you think first.” – Colin Smith


“Sometimes I just need to be able to vocalize what I’m saying.” – Colin Smith


“Do we care about someone to enable us to listen? Or could we listen fully, and as a result, we’d end up caring about them.” – Colin Smith


“How much could be listened to from someone? And what we really get from the conversation is often a very different message.” – Colin Smith


“There are no rules. We know if we instinctively are present with someone, we will know what to do. We’ll know what to say. We’ll know when to add in our bit. Because it feels right. And it will feel congruent to the person who’s speaking.” – Colin Smith



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