How Well Do I Listen?

Woman pondering whatMost of us have experienced the frustration of having someone not listen to us or felt that same frustration when someone says you’re not listening to him or her.   But, before we get all bent out of shape and accuse someone of not listening, we must first ask ourselves the question, “how well do I listen”?

You must learn to be a good listener if you want others to listen to you.  That means putting down the smartphone and giving the other person your undivided attention.

A smartphone is no substitute for meaningful connection

Listening is so much more than hearing the words that are spoken. Listening involves paying full attention to the person speaking, taking note of the tone of voice, gestures, body language and making eye contact.

We are so accustomed to speaking in shorthand – e.g., OMG, LOL, ROFL, etc., that real communication easily gets lost.  A “smart” device is no substitute for meaningful, connected interaction between two or more people.  Smart devices and shortcut speech is just another way for us to avoid connecting with each other in a meaningful way.

Before you send your next text, email or instant message, ask yourself:

How well do I listen?

How does this connect me to him/her?

And to further hone up on your listening skills,  keep these tips in mind to remind you to become a better listener.

1) Look the person speaking in the eye as they talk to you. This shows that you are paying attention. Don’t fidget, survey the surrounding scenery or check email.

2) Nod your head occasionally, say, “tell me more”, or ask questions when appropriate to indicate your interest.

3) Don’t interrupt the person speaking to complete her thoughts in your mind before she has the opportunity to finish speaking.

4) Notice the speaker’s body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. When we focused only on the words being said, we often miss important physical cues that would clarify and give us a better understanding of what is really being said.

5) Remember to ask questions that can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no”. You want to ask questions that promote more conversation and clarity.

For more listening and communication tips, you may want to order my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You


  1. Hi Gladys,

    I know that I am very guilty of not giving my full attention when people are talking. In a society where everything is fast-paced and full of movers and shakers, it becomes very easy to miss the listening moments.

    Thank you for the reminder!

  2. This article brings back a memory of a time when I found out I needed to upgrade my listening skills.

    When my husband and I returned home from a summer party, we were sharing who we had met there. He told me detail after detail he had learned about different people at the party. I was impressed since I had learned very little about anyone.

    “How did you learn so much about all these folks?” I asked.

    “While you were talking, I was listening,” he said.

    He was so right. Everyone I had talked to knew a lot about me, but I didn’t know about them because I didn’t listen.

    Since then I’ve learned that when you encourage others to talk about themselves they always report having had a good time.

    I’m still working on being a good listener, but I’m better than I once was.
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