Hard of Listening

 In Change Leadership, Change Management

Hard of listening, that doesn’t sound quite right.  Many people have heard the phrase, hard of hearing.  Is hard of hearing accurate?  No, most people can hear, and the phrase hard of hearing inaccurately describes the fact that the person can hear, but is not listening.   Let’s examine the difference between hearing and listening.

Hearing is the brain’s physiological and automatic response to sound.  It is the receipt of sound and noise by the ears.  People are surrounded by sounds most of the time.  We hear incidental sounds and learn to filter out the sounds that mean little to us, and choose to hear sounds that are more important.  For example, an incidental sound is a car driving down the street, and an important noise is the ringing of a cell phone.

Listening is when a person receives sound waves and consciously interprets the sounds into words and sentences.  It involves more than one sense (ears, eyes, and even touch) to understand the message completely and accurately. The ability to listen is a skill that requires both motivation and effort.

Interesting information, how is it meaningful to me?  Listening is an important skill that has a major impact on your job effectiveness and the quality of your relationships.  Listening skills can be improved by utilizing these tips:

  • Pay attention to verbal and nonverbal cues (tone, pitch, and body language)
  • Keep an open mind
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Ask clarifying questions
  • Give regular feedback

Each interaction is an opportunity to reveal your curiosity and deepen your connections.  You may be surprised by what you learn when you take the time to actively listen.


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