The skill of “hearing what isn’t being said”

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” ~Peter Drucker

I posted this quote on my Facebook page because it speaks to our ability to see and intuit past the literal words people are saying to the bigger picture of the person’s experience.

Below is what I replied to one of my peeps who posted that they weren’t very good at this, and what would I suggest for her if she wanted to get better.

Great, happy to do it…… but why is this important? Why would we care to have this skill set?

Having access to this one skill set has the potential to transform literally ALL of your relationships and interactions… in ANY area… business, love, friendship, family, everything.


“Lauren, great question, I’m glad you asked, thank you.. one of the first things I would suggest is to begin a mental practice, very deliberately, of “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.” That’s a phrase that perhaps been overused such that it’s meaning is becoming diluted.. when I say it, I mean to deliberately wonder what might be going on with someone else such that they are the way they are, or are acting the way they are. Consider their situational elements, consider potential common emotional charges around such circumstances, consider their history that might be coloring their feelings or ways of being if you know that stuff about them, consider as much about the person and the current situation that you know aiming to answer the question… Why does what they are doing/feeling/being make sense? Why is it logical? Understandable? This gives us access to a deeper understanding of a person and their motivations, and a more compassionate understanding of what’s happening on the surface that may not make sense at our first, more superficial glance. Certainly we won’t always be right about what we come up with, but at least it’s an effort we can make to source understanding and compassion for others, in any scenario… and it doesn’t have to always be in conflict, or when we disagree with someone, that’s just where most people want to employ this skill the most, to diffuse the painful feelings and experiences that arise in conflict. We can also do this looking at people we admire, or aspire to be like.. really wonder what might be at work such that they are the way they are, do the things they do, achieve what they achieve… when we do this, often we can have breakthrough insights for ourselves that those things we think are outside of our abilities really are simply underpinned by a values system and the achievements and actions we see are simply a manifestation of those values in action both real time and over time. Long answer, but I hope that gives you a place to start!”


Certainly there are skills beyond this… things we then DO with, and bring to our communication, or mental practice with what we get from “putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes”.. but that’s another post! 😉

If you’d like to learn more or would like to do a coaching session, just sign up here or drop me a line.

Rock on, my epic people!


Mel 😀

PS. For more info on the skill of validation, check this video. 🙂

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About Melanie Curtis

Melanie Curtis is a life coach, writer, speaker, world traveler, art lover, movie-maker, professional skydiver, devoted family member, fierce friend, and Founder and CEO of and Highcomms LLC. Melanie goes huge in all aspects of her life, living her version of “the dream,” and helps other people live theirs too through coaching, education, transformative conversations, and no-nonsense accountability.

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