How to become a better Listener
The first step to improvement is always self-awareness. Analyze your shortcomings as a listener and commit yourself to overcoming them.Good listeners are not born that way. They have worked at learning how to listen effectively. Good listening does not go hand in hand with intelligence,education,or social standing.Like any other skill,it comes from practice and self-discipline.
When I was young … or younger, back when I was a graduate student, I used to be a teaching assistant in college. Standing in front of a small group of students, I poured my heart out to discuss a theory that I was so passionate about. When I was done talking, I realized that I was the only one who understood the lesson. “It must have been my English,” I told myself.
When I was working for a manufacturer in Indiana, there was a group of engineering students touring the plant to see what engineers do in the real world. I was assigned to present the topic at the beginning of the tour. When I was done, I knew I had talked more than I should.
Which one was to blame? Were the students not good listeners? Or, was I not a good speaker?
I convinced myself that we were both to blame. In my mind, I thought that if the students wanted to learn, they should have listened. The students thought differently. They believed that if I were just a tiny bit more interesting, they would have listened.
When I grew up, I blamed myself. In addition to being a not-so-good speaker, I was also a not-so-good listener while speaking.
I didn’t listen to the students who were quietly begging me to slow down. I did not put myself in the students’ shoes to see if I had made any sense while talking. I did not observe and realized that they were in la-la land, and that I should adjust my speech to pull them back to reality. Worst of all, I assumed that if the subject interested me, then it would interest the students. I was wrong.
I should have realized that information is not the only thing that most people want. People want the information that they can relate to. They want the information that they can get excited about.
Listening is not just hearing. Listening is to make an effort to hear, or to pay attention to. Student heard, but they did not listen. I talked, and I didn’t listen.
See? Barbieq was talking about listening, but I was talking about speaking. Though I did put the word “listening” in my context … I was just … yakking.
Last edited by Handsome Bear; Apr 7, 2008 at 10:12 PM.
Mar 11, 2008, 01:47 PM
Listening is comprehending what you HEAR! I gotta admit, I'm horrible when it comes to listening... (wait, you didn't let me finish)... to two people at the same time. I'm a great listener (not that I'm braggin' or advertising or anything but in case you need someone to listen to your complaints, i'm your gal); I really am. Anyway, I can sympathize with both: being the listener AND being the victim of not being listened TO.
The other day, Handsome and I conversed for about an hour or so. We practically talked about anything and everything. Family, relationships, likes, dislikes, hobbies, pet-peeves, you name it. Besides from the fact that Handsome occupied 80% of the conversation, it was splendid. Yes, he blabbed, blabbed, and blabbed some more, but I had my share... of the 20%. However, looking back, I can conclude that Handsome wasn't that great of a listener (yes, ladies, he has his flaws). I can recall mentioning about my relationship history and I can also recall him asking me intimate questions... not once... but a few times per question. At that time, I thought he was really interested in me and my history, that's why he couldn't stop asking; however, that wasn't and still isn't the case. OH, how wrong I was. Anyway, I believe that part of being a good listener is being able to comprehend what you hear and being able to remember the information for a certain, appropriate time span. I knew Handsome didn't fall under that catagory when he messaged me the next day asking me "What are you doing today?" when I specifically told him... oh, I don't know... just about 4 times the day before (during our intimate conversation). I also believe that part of being a good listener is to "give and take." I give a few words, I take in a few words. Giving 80% and only taking 20% (and vice versa) is... I'm not a math major so tell me if I'm wrong... unequal.
Anyway, he's not to blame. I'm also a victim of bad listening. I confess... I paid very little attention to what he said. It practically went in one ear and out the other. But hey, what you don't know can't hurt you.
It's 11:41PM; so you can imagine how sleepy I am as I am typing this up. So don't mind the nonsense.
@Handsome, I think as a speaker, your thoughts are too occupied with speaking that your mind pays very little attention to your surroundings. I guess that's where a good "speaker" comes in. A good speaker is someone who is aware of his/her surroundings and can interact both ways.
So, a little advice to Handsome: Practice your listening skills. Practice, practice, and practice some more!
If you need someone to practice on, give me a ring. Hahhaha!
Mar 13, 2008, 04:03 AM
Mar 13, 2008, 08:52 AM