You want to listen and understand the other person
However, you don't know what to talk about
That is where the discovery topic questions come in
This is the very first technique of listening
The purpose is simple
To gather all emotional topics for you to potentially dive deeper in
Choose the Right Emotional Topics
Not all topics are created equal, emotional topics are worthwhile to explore while others are a waste of time
Emotional topics are the ones where the person has not let go of the feelings (typically anger, fear, or sadness) and is bottling it up on the inside.
It creates stress and blockages on your mind similar to stopping a flow on a garden hose while the water is running
Another great analogy is you going to pee on the toilet
No one wants to go urinate and stop the flow midway, it is stressful to hold it back, same goes with the mind
Your job as a listener is to find help others to find these blockages that stop the flow and release them
Think about it for a second
If someone is listening to you, you would must rather talk about how someone has angered you or hurt your feelings vs you took a walk in the park and ate some ice cream
You would want to expand on why that person pissed you off or why your feeling was hurt.
When you expand why that person has pissed you off, you release the blocked anger emotion
After you release, you feel relaxed and can perhaps move on
Take the following conversation for example:
Sam: "Hey Nikki, how was your day?"
Nikki: "Oh today was a fairly good day. I went shopping, bought a few nice clothes. Towards the end of the day, I saw someone that looked like my ex so I kind of ran to the other side just to avoid him. It turned out he wasn't that guy haha"
Sam: "So you are not still over him?"
When Sam was talking to Nikki with the "how was your day" question, she found out two topics
- Nikki bought clothes today and she's happy
- Nikki saw someone looked like her ex, she was a little scared
Happiness does not create blockages. People want to feel happy and never hold back on it
Fear does create blockages. People don't want to feel scared so they hold back the fear and not feel it.
Sam did a great job choosing the right topic to talk about fear to dive deeper in by saying "So you are not still over him?"
Up next, on part 2 you will read more about the common questions, techniques used to discover more topics to talk about in a listening session