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.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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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Comments 3

  1. This article is very insightful. Listening is a deliberate activity that involves paying attention to a sound. It enables one to comprehend the content and context of what one hears. As for hearing, It is an involuntary reception of a sound stimuli. Listening is also known to help people become great speakers and writers. To become an effective writer, one has to possess good listening capabilities to enable you to synthesize and develop accurate and relevant content. In this regard, to develop high quality, custom written content, start by practicing active listening, rather than just hearing. I appreciate what this writer has done.

  2. This article is very insightful. Listening is a deliberate activity that involves paying attention to a sound. It enables one to comprehend the content and context of what one hears. As for hearing, It is an involuntary reception of a sound stimuli. Listening is also known to help people become great speakers and writers. To become an effective writer, one has to possess good listening capabilities to enable you to synthesize and develop accurate and relevant content. In this regard, to develop high quality, custom written content, start by practicing active listening, rather than just hearing. I appreciate what this writer has done.

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