Listen Up!

Do you listen to reply or do you listen to understand?

Believe it or not, but the skill of listening is actually very difficult to master.  Most people only hear their own side of the conversation rather than taking in what the other person is saying.  People will already have what they are going to respond with next at bat before they listen to what the other side has to say.  This isn’t listening, it’s just hearing.  Listening is when you actively hear what the other person is contributing to the conversation and building of what they had to say.

You’re only listening for what you want to hear.

We tend to pick out aspects of a conversation that support our pre-existing beliefs, values, or perceptions.  This is confirmation bias, when doing this it is like you have a filter and only what you are looking for makes it through to your brain.  Your brain shifts between different questions as someone is talking and you only focus on what you want to hear.  This happens because essentially, your brain is bored.  People talk at a much slower rate than what your brain can process.  Thus, you start thinking of other things while you already have your opinion. So, whatever the other person says will only have a small amount of information trickle its way into your opinion.

Start Listening and Communication Grows

Take in everything someone has to say.  Actively listen to EVERYTHING they are talking about before you have your answer or your contribution to the conversation.  Would you want someone to not hear you out and not care about what you say?  It can be very frustrating to not be able to give your own input.  When dealing with clients or employees, you truly need to listen to them.  Business will crumble if you do not learn to listen and not to just hear.

How to be Better at Listening

-Try to remove any distractions.  This can include your phones, electronics, or even other people.

-Listen for the big picture, don’t focus on specific details.

-Don’t interrupt.  Let the other person finish before you jump to conclusions.

-Be open minded to what the other person has to say.

-Try to play the devil’s advocate.  Listen to the other side and try to see where they are coming from.  They could make some good points!


Find more quick tips to help you listen better at