# Are You Listening or Hearing?

Have you been frustrated others by not listening to them? or perhaps you have been frustrated by someone who is not listening to what you are saying?

People used to to think that listening is the same as hearing, but the truth is, listening is hearing + understanding.


Often times during a conversation we jump in to say what is on our minds even before we acknowledge or register what the other person is saying. This ‘butting-in’ short circuits the possibility of a mutual understanding between you and the other speaker, even if you did not deliberately set out to break the flow of conversation.

How do you know when a person is not listening? It is usually easy to sense this. Tell-tale signs are poor eye contact, shuffling feet, busy hands, and meaningless replies like


"That’s interesting…"
"Oh really?"
“Uh huh…” etc.

A fake listener’s lack of interest in the conversation can also reflect an even more annoying reality – his or her lack of interest in the speaker.

Most people don't listen with the intent to understand, but listen only with the intent to reply. Even at work, where performance takes priority over relationships, listening carefully to understand the other person's point of view before you even think about replying is the key to productive communication.

Careful listening is difficult and takes practice to improve. Next time you get into a conversation, try to ‘care enough’ to understand what the other person is saying.

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