Isn’t it true that – at some stage – we are all guilty of not listening? We have all experienced talking to someone who is clearly not listening, even when they are looking directly at us. Do we tune out? We attempt to multi-task between “listening”, texting or watching TV; that inevitably means that we are not listening when others are talking to us.
Does this sound familiar?
The Art of Listening is, in fact, a skill. That is actually good news, because it means that we can learn to listen – and be present – when the person is talking to us. And, it may be useful to know some of the reasons why we don’t listen. Here are few of the more common ones:
- the person you are speaking to would rather do the talking – their need is greater right now;
- Distraction. Imagine this: we can talk at 200-250 words per minute but think at 300-350. It is very easy then, when we are talking, for the other person to get distracted by their own thoughts, rehearsing in their mind what they want to say, and waiting for a gap in the conversation to get their point across;
- the topic simply does not interest them; or
- an emotional response could be triggered in them around the topic and they are lost in their own thoughts, or attempting to control their reaction towards you.
Do any of these ring true for you? Would you like to learn to be more present in a situation and really listen – and read when others aren’t – and how to manage that for yourself?
We have one mouth and two ears; therefore the gold is in listening twice as much as we speak.