Hearing Versus Listening #59

by Sue Hawkes

Hearing Versus Listening #59

What happens when you have something important, pressing, vital or interesting you are eager to share with someone and they don’t really pay attention?

Even worse, what happens when they hear you, play along and seem to be with you, but they’re not? You know the drill, when someone is there, making eye contact, seemingly interested but when you reference the subject later, they really didn’t listen?

Actively, we all do things like this while we’re hearing others. We are distracted, our mind racing to the next thing or whatever “other” important things are racing through our minds as someone believes we are with them because our eyes are locked on theirs or we utter a “umhmm” or “yeah” from time to time. But we’re not really listening, we may be hearing them partly or fully, but we’re not listening.

Another way many of us actively hear and don’t listen is to pay attention to the first sentences someone ushers, form our answer, rebuttal, suggestion or argument and really stop listening as we form our response. We appear to be hearing them, when really, we are patiently (?) waiting for our time to speak.

Most of us could up our game in this department. A LOT.

Understanding comes from truly slowing down to fully listen to another person. With no agenda other than fully understanding their point of view, position, quandary, frustration or idea. We’re missing this these days, in our companies and in our world.

Though we think it costs time, it saves time in the long run. I’ve heard it only takes being listened to for four minutes straight to alter the course of someone’s life. That doesn’t mean hearing the words, it means listening to the entire message, spoken and unspoken.

Sue HawkesHearing Versus Listening #59