Fresh Views

Be REAL Series: L is for LISTENING

In our personal lives, one of our favorite places to be still and listen is oceanside

Be present in all things, and thankful for all things.

~ Maya Angelou

Today we wrap up a 4-blog series called, “Be REAL”, revisiting 4 powerful words from our 2020 series on the power of words. Here are the 4 words that make-up the acronym REAL, today closing out with LISTENING.

Today’s word in our Be REAL series  is LISTENING 

The only way to listen is to be truly present and in the moment. Often, as healthcare professionals (HCPs)  we have our “agenda” or “very important information” that we feel needs to be addressed, discussed, and prioritized. However, our clients/patients goals and priorities may be different than ours. Sometimes the best course of action is to be quiet, and to listen. In that moment we are present in the encounter, we hear what people are saying, we can then address their most pressing concerns, fears and challenges. Granted, this can be a challenge for an HCP (ourselves included) with so much information that we want to impart. The reality is that when we have our agenda in our head and are planning our “presentation of facts” we are not present. 

Check out our previous post on Listening and how it can transform interactions. Engaging in a solution-focused approach is not possible without enhanced listening skills. Our role is not to solve problems, but to help people understand their individual situations and identify solutions to help them move forward in their lives, goals etc. When we listen, we can help them to discern what works for them, and help them to see where they have strengths.

As we challenged back in 2020, we challenge our readers to actively focus on listening before speaking with clients and ensure each encounter is focused on their concerns and what is important to them:

  1. Listen for clues and cues that highlight exceptions, current resources and strengths the client identifies. Maybe open the conversation with a simple question, such as, “What’s been going on in your world?” It’s broad, enables the client to take the conversation where they wish, and can provide insight into other aspects and impacts in their life.
  2. As the conversation evolves, use the clients own language to help the client envision their preferred future

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If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

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Deb is employed by Dexcom, but her words and opinions in this blog are her own.

Tami is employed by the University of Kentucky HealthCare Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center, but her words and opinions in this blog are her own.