Listening with all of your Senses

Living in Japan I learned quickly that communication goes beyond the words spoken.  After giving a sponsorship presentation, I asked my team if they had any questions. No one raised their hand, so I assumed they understood. However, I learned afterwards that a couple of people had very important questions to ask but I missed it. I soon learned that in Japan, they don’t make as much direct eye contact as we do in the States so when I asked the group if there were any questions, I shouldn’t have looked for raised hands but how bright their eyes were. I eventually learned the phrase “kankaku de kikimasu” meaning listening with all my senses.

“Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked. They couldn’t believe he was talking with that kind of a woman. No one said what they were all thinking, but their faces showed it. The woman took the hint and left. In her confusion she left her water pot. Back in the village she told the people, “Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out.” — John 4:27-30

We don’t know her name or age but her conversation with Jesus is his longest one-on-one chat recorded in Scripture. She came alone to draw water from the community well when, during biblical times, drawing water and chatting at the well was the social highpoint of a woman’s day. However, this woman was ostracized and marked as immoral yet God loved her in spite of her bankrupt life. Jesus has the ability to see through people to get to their heart. He modeled “kankaku de kikimasu” by focusing less on what she was verbally saying and more on listening with his senses– sight, touch, taste, and smell. And by doing so, it frees her to be wanted, to be cared for when no one, not even herself, could see anything of value in her—this is grace indeed.

How are you using your five senses to get people to take action?
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I think this is a key in our communication and sales too.

  • How can deep listening be leveraged when selling?
  • What can you share around your product, service or idea to get your clients to use their five senses? 
  • How can studying the brightness of eyes serve your business development efforts?

If you want people to remember you, your product or your company, get them to experience all five senses when they interact with your communication pieces.

Reflection |

How could “listening with all of your senses” help you in your job today?


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