We all say we are listening to others’, don’t we? However, are we just hearing and what’s the difference?
Hearing and listening may seem very similar, however, there are quite specific differences.
Here are some differences for you to ponder. Perhaps you can see how much you really listen or are you mainly just hearing.
HEARING is a passive process whilst LISTENING is an active process.
HEARING does not require an understanding of the other person whilst LISTENING depends on the person really understanding what the other person is meaning.
HEARING is easy requiring little if no real effort, whilst HEARING requires a degree of concentration, focus and attention of what the other person is saying and meaning.
We can go through the physical process of hearing a sound or what someone has said, however, listening involves us understanding and responding to what we have heard and being empathetic of what’s been said. We also may be able to hear two things at the same time, for example, a conversation and the radio, however, we can only listen to one thing at a time.
How might we become a better listener?
Pay Attention – Make a point of giving good eye contact, trying to block out anything else going on
Having an open mind – Being able to see the other person’s viewpoint; this may mean seeing things from their perspective, not necessarily agreeing with what they are saying
Patience – Taking time to truly understand what’s being said and what the underlying message is that’s being conveyed
Empathy – Showing compassion to and for the other person so we are able to respond accordingly
The benefits of being a good listener and improving our listening skills is that it helps us build stronger relationships and be able to communicate more effectively with other people.
Having these skills can assist with resolving (and preventing) conflict, deepen our connection with the other person and give feedback on what’s being said.
Good listening skills are very helpful for everyone both personally and professionally and help us understand others more easily, especially to those we care about. It enables us to build trust and show respect for others, whether they are family, friends or work / business colleagues.
If you want to be a more effective communicator, practicing on learning to listen more mindfully and effectively will gain us more respect and help our relationships in all areas.
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