Are You Listening?


Do you ever feel like your not being heard.  You start to raise your voice thinking it will make a difference, but by then the people you are talking to think your angry.  It can be frustrating.  It makes you think either your really boring or people are so focused on themselves that they just don’t hear what you have to say.  Self importance can be a slippery slope!

I was told a funny story about when you are having a conversation with someone you are to say ( in your head) while they are talking, “you”.  When you speak or adds to the conversation you say (in your head) “me” and it goes from there.  It should be about equal, you-you-you, me-me-me, you-you-you, me-me-me, equal amounts of input to make the conversation flow and not one sided.  It makes me laugh every time I get into a conversation with someone who doesn’t let anyone else add to the conversation.  Me-me-me-me-me-me and so on.

There are also those who manipulate the conversation around what they are trying to talk about (self importance rears it’s ugly head) but it just doesn’t naturally go in their direction so they force the topic change.  Those who are listening exchange that puzzled looks to one another and the self important person is back in control!  It all comes down to “listening” skills.  There are basic listening skills and entire websites just to learn how to listen, so it must be an epidemic!

Listening is one of the most important skills you can have.  How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.
We listen to obtain information.
We listen to understand.
We listen for enjoyment.
We listen to learn.

listeningWith all the listening we do, you would think we’d be good at it!  In fact we’re not.  Apparently we remember a dismal 25-50% of what we hear.  That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes, they only really hear 2½-5 minutes of the conversation.  Well that’s just great isn’t it!  No wonder, it’s all starting to make sense to me.
So that must mean that when we are receiving directions or being presented with information, we aren’t hearing the whole message either.  Let’s hope the important parts are captured in your 25- 50%, but what if they’re not?  The dots are starting to be connected!
There is huge room for improvement here, so by becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate.   This will help avoid conflict and misunderstandings – all necessary for workplace success.

So I ask, Are you listening?

Here’s some tips:
Pay attention. (Duh)
Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message.
Eye Contact and head nods help the speaker be aware you ARE listening.
Put aside distracting thoughts. (God I’d like to reach out and kiss him right now~ not good)
Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. (what’s the smell?)

Body language can tell you heaps about someone, read them as they speak but don’t over analyse.  (his fingers are separated from his thumb on his chin, I just read that in a book, what’s the name again, it means either he is going to shoot me or… OMG he thinks I’m easy !)  Another distraction.

Allow the speaker to finish. (unless… your so totally bored and late to where your going, cut your losses and run)
Don’t interrupt, you will get your turn.  (At least you hope you do.  If you don’t, you’ll know for next time to say a quick hello and keep walking!)

Listening can sometimes be difficult depending on who is talking, but it is a respect we should all have for others.  If we become good listeners, maybe, just maybe it will rub off on those around us.  Lead by example~ If they see we are giving them our undivided attention when they have something to say it should be reciprocated!  We can only hope.

Share the air, you just might learn something.  Wadja say?

Tracy signiture


3 thoughts on “Are You Listening?

  1. Tracy,
    This is good stuff ! I’m defiantly guilty of thinking I need to raise my voice to be heard when I think someone isn’t listening. Then of course I’m accused of being angry. Does anyone have those moments when your talking to someone about something important to you and you can tell they are not hearing a word you said ? I would agree that listening is a skill…. and something like everything else in life …. we need to continue to get better at.
    I read recently that life is about learning and changing…. and if your done learning and changing…. YOUR DONE ! Makes good sense to me !
    I love the way you add your personal sense of humor to a serious subject ! Funny !

    Thanks ! And Keep Up The Great Work !

  2. Huh, were you talking to me? Ha ha…kidding.

    To be a really good listener, I would add that you should try to listen without only thinking about your own point of view. So when the other is talking, if you don’t agree, try to imagine their point of view, roll it around in your mind first before saying anything. So many of us aren’t really doing that, we are just waiting for the next break in the conversation so we can state our own point of view in there.

  3. True confession time…again. I’m actually pretty shy in person and so I know I often get caught up in conversations with people who only talk about themselves or worse, other people they know that I don’t! Nothing is more boring than to be subjected to incessant, rambling gossip about people you’ve never met! What’s the point? I find a glass or two of wine helps me relax and that’s when the real me comes out and I get authentic. I’ll even say “enough about your obnoxious neighbours, let’s talk about how great this Shiraz is! Have you read Oprah’s latest book selection?” : )

    I’m going to try out the me me me, you you you thing and put it to the test. I think sometimes it’s okay to be ‘me me me’ if you have something momentous to talk about but then next time you have to make it a ‘you you you’ get together to even things up.

    Love the topic and could go on forever! Thx T

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