Inspirational Infusion

#110 — May 1, 2018

Listening is active. At its most basic level, it's about focus, paying attention.

— Simon Sinek

Greetings, Inspired Travelers!

I recently taught a workshop on deep listening for an interdisciplinary team of healthcare employees. Included in the session were physicians, residents, nurses and all manner of support staff. The session was lively and most of the attendees voiced the wish that they had received this information much earlier in their training.

And so, dear leaders, I offer you the main points of the session; should you wish to have the entire workshop presented for your team … well, you know where to find me!

The Path to Active Listening:

1. First Impressions Count! The conversation with any customer or patient begins the moment you walk in the room. Given the amount of work healthcare employees are required to complete, it is no wonder that staff tend to jump right into the purpose of the visit - clean the room, take blood, give meds, review the case, etc. However, when these tasks begin before a relationship is established, the professional relationship is in jeopardy. Please take the time to sit, face the patient, make eye contact and cue them that you are ready to listen.
2. Listen to the Unspoken! At times, especially in emotionally charged moments, body language speaks louder than words. Pay attention. Listen to all of the language being used and to the feelings that may be lurking under the surface.
3. Dive Below the Surface! What is the real question the patient or family member is asking? Health issues are not necessarily skin deep, and many times people do not know how to express the real concern. Pay attention. Listen to the underlying thoughts.
4. Listen with Full Presence! People who actively listen are comfortable with conversation and with silence. Sometimes, the silent moments convey more. Resist the need to comment, interject or interrupt. People need time to process their thoughts during times of duress. Listen patiently.
5. Listen for the Close! The patient or family member will tell you, through their words, silence, questions and body language, when they are finished with the conversation. Pay attention so that you don't miss it and extend the discussion unnecessarily. Listen. This is their conversation.
6. Listen with Your Heart as Much as Your Head! Empathy and compassion should be the foundation of all healthcare encounters. Check yourself, especially at the beginning and ending of each meeting, to ensure you are listening well.

Listening is hard work. Stay focused. Stay committed. Stay engaged.

People are counting on all of you for their well-being and healing.

Be magnificent!

Have an Inspirational Day!


At InspirationInProgress, we offer workshops and seminars that develop tools needed by all leaders in all industries. Drop us a line at or give us a call at 215 260 1611 and see how we can help you in your professional encounters.