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being a better listener

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Do you consider yourself a good listener? The odds are that you do. Most people do. You might do a little eye roll when you hear that because you know so many people who are * not * good listeners. Here’s an alarming idea: you might be one of them. A survey conducted by Accenture and posted to Fast Company shows that nearly all respondents believe they’re good listeners. However, 66 percent admit to being on their email while on conference calls and 35% admit to instant messaging while on conference calls.


It’s true that the digital age makes it difficult to listen, because there’s always a distraction if we want one. We’ve even normalized texting or scrolling through Instagram while having an IRL conversation with someone! But our relationships — both personal and professional — take a hit when we fail to listen. And there’s another reason we don’t listen that has nothing to do with our phones: we interrupt. You’re anxious to say what you want to say, or you don’t want to allow someone to finish when you believe they’re being redundant/rude/confusing etc. But interrupting someone is a sure fire way to get them to stop communicating entirely. So, here’s what happens when we interrupt people less.


They’re more likely to hear you out

If you’re ever having a conflict with someone or are simply not seeing eye to eye, you might have the urge to shout them down. You just think that the one who gets the most words in, wins. But a real win would involve actually changing the perspective of the other person, and that won’t happen if they don’t feel you took the time to understand theirs. An article from the International Journal or Listening shows people feel most understood when someone displays signs of active listening. This involves repeating phrases back to someone they’ve just said. It doesn’t involve interrupting. If someone feels understood, they are more inclined to hear you out.

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