Are You REALLY Hearing Me? You Should.

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and felt that the other person was out in left field mentally, not really hearing a word you said or genuinely taking your thoughts to heart?


On the flip side, you’ve probably at one point or another been the person day dreaming about your plans for the weekend or how you wish you were on a beach. Just admit it, we all have been guilty of it at one point. But why do we do it? Simply, because we just don’t know how to effectively listen.

Fundamentally, listening is the highest communication skill we have, because it can be crafted, and needs shaping every now and then.

“How would it really pay off?” you might think. But really, effective listening habits pay off in several ways:

  • Good listeners are liked by others because they satisfy the basic human needs of being heard and being wanted.
  • People who listen well are able to separate fact from fiction, cope effectively with false persuasion, and avoid having others use them for personal gain.
  • Effective listening leads to sensitivity and tolerance toward key individuals who are critical to the organization’s success.
  • Effective listeners are engaged and constantly learning.

So why don’t we always listen well? We just don’t know practical ways to help ourselves while helping others in listening.

Here are some things that we fall into doing, sometimes not even realizing it.

Bad Listening Habits: 

  • Faking attention: face it, you were just introduced but can’t remember slightly what their name is. We usually look directly at a person, nod, smile, and pretend to listen.
  • Allowing disruptions: we welcome disruptions of almost any sort when we are engaged in somewhat difficult listening.
  • Overlistening: we can actually overlisten to record every detail and really miss the speaker’s major points entirely.
  • Dismissing subjects as uninteresting: we tend to use disinterest as a rationale for not listening. Unfortunately, the decision is usually made before the topic is ever introduced.

Now now, don’t be too hard on yourself. We all have done one if not all of these things before, but here’s the beauty: we can IMPROVE!

So, without further delay, here are some tips to be a good listener:

  • Listen to what is meant, not to ready for a reply.
  • Don’t interpret too quickly what speaker is trying to say.
  • Put yourself in speaker’s shoes; how does the world look to him?
  • Put aside your own views and opinions for the moment.
  • Keep thought on what the other is saying.
  • Expect the speaker to say what he means in different words than you would use.
  • Before you answer, sum up what you understand the speaker to be saying.

Doable right? Hopefully as you read this, something stood out to you and can be applied to your everyday life; I know I can and I have, and quite frankly, conversations across the board are more meaningful and effective.

Be encouraged, because you are wonderful, and your listening can, and will, get better. What about you? Do you have any other tips that could help us all be better listeners? I would love to hear your thoughts.


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