Does this look and sound familiar? Actively listening to others is more than not interrupting; the first rule of listening is to be fully emotionally present, and we can’t be present if we are focused on our response. Until we have really listened, how can we know our (appropriate) response? Our response needs to be adjusted to what the other person is saying and feeling.
To be listened to with total attention is striking. And it is a gift. When did you last give or receive that gift? Not in a Court room, and not in an argument almost certainly.
The goal of collaborative divorce law practitioners is to be fully present and to give clients total attention. That is how we can listen for what is not said, for the emotion behind the words, for what has been left out, and the story our clients really need to tell. That is one of the ways in which we can best serve our clients, and just one of the many gifts of working collaboratively instead of competitively.
by Marguerite Picard, Family Divorce lawyer, Melbourne, VIC