Listening vs Hearing

Hearing you noticed a sound.

Listening you made an effort to understand that sound and find its meaning.

Yes, there is a distinction and it’s important.  Pay attention because many conversations go awry because of this distinction.

In some circles, listening properly, as I would call it, is referred to as active listening.  In the simplest terms, it means you have understood the message and have retained it, and if you are in a one-to-one conversation, the speaker feels that she or he has been heard and acknowledged.

A few suggestions to improve listening skills:

  • Consciously tell yourself that you are switching on and listening
  • Reduce or eliminate distractions such as mobile phones and background noise from TVs, radios etc.
  • Refrain from jumping to solutions, suggestions or rebuttals
  • Observe the speaker’s body language
  • Re-state what you think you have heard in your own words
While our ears are switched on all the time, our listening skills aren’t.  It takes practice.  If you want to improve communication, reduce conflict and frustration, then start by practising your listening skills.

Abide by the “two ears, one mouth” rule – listen more and talk less!

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I’m a business coach passionate about helping women make the impossible possible! Do get in touch. I would love to have a chat to see how I can help.

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