Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

One Of The Greatest Gifts You Can Give

Sherlock Holmes is often seen as the world’s greatest fictional detective. His meticulous and cold analytical mind convince us he’d be the best in his field.

But that’s incorrect.

To be good at catching criminals, you must understand that people are governed largely by emotions. They act out of love, fear, pride, desire, despair or jealousy rather than detached logic.

Holmes is no doubt aware that people are emotional beings. But since he considers himself a brain above all else, the detective probably can’t quite grasp what motivates people to do things. 

The human heart is a mystery to him. He can’t hear it speak.

And yet that’s precisely the ability you need when you’re hunting undesirables in the underworld. The ability to listen. Really listen.

Everyone can hear words that hit their eardrum, but few can understand why they’re talking. And that why lies underneath the facts. People rarely speak up unless it means something to them. 

This explains why the greatest hostage negotiators are all great listeners. 

They don’t persuade the bad guys to put down the gun, they’re sympathetic to what the baddies say and make them feel understood. And that’s what we all crave. To be seen.

It’s not a surprise that mass shooters and terrorists are almost always described as being withdrawn, awkward and lonely. Nobody truly listened to them, so they stopped trying.

But their desire to be heard never went away.

Don’t be like Sherlock Holmes and zero in on a speaker’s words. That’s doing someone a disservice. 

Be curious and listen for the thoughts, feelings and meaning behind the words. If you walk away from a conversation with a loved one without knowing what they’re most concerned about today, you probably didn’t listen well enough.

Make them feel heard. It’s what you’d want for yourself too.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach