Do you talk when you should be listening?



I witnessed a heated discussion between two people this week. It was more like an argument, as neither of them was listening to the point the other person was trying to make.

Maybe they both felt that what they had to say was more important than what the other had to say.

It made me reflect on my own ability or inability to listen in similar situations and I asked myself whether there are times when I talk too much, when what I should be doing is listening’.

What many people do not realise is that listening’ is a commutation skill. This life skill is not taught enough.

We can all benefit from more effective communication skills in our business and social lives. The ability to communicate effectively at work or in our personal life is one of the most important set of skills a person needs.

There are several components to effective communication. One of the most important is listening’, and effective listening at that. When we are speaking we want to be listened to, we feel insulted when we are ignored.

Listening is more than hearing the words; it is understanding and accepting the other person’s message and his or her thoughts and feelings.

A breakdown in communication can be attributed to many of the problems in your business and personal relationships. At the root of these problems is the inability of one or both parties to listen effectively.

How many times have you said, ‘He or she does not listen to me’? How often has the volume of the conversation drowned out the essence of your message?

How often have you thought you were listening to your children when they were talking to you? Only to find them stop talking to you after a while because they, above all people in your life are more sensitive to you and the attention you pay them.

If you take the letters from the word listen’ and rearrange them it will spell silent’. This silence is key to effective listening. When you want to effectively listen to your partner, work colleague or children, stop whatever you are doing and silence all those other thoughts in your head.

Silence your biases and assumptions of what the other person may be trying to say and listen to what they are really saying.

Taking time to listen more may even help save or repair some of your personal relationships, now that’s got to be worth it.

Consider the words of Dr. Karl Menninger, ‘The reward for always listening when you would rather be talking is wisdom.’

It’s good to share, I always welcome your thoughts, use the comments box below.

Have a phenomenal week

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4 Responses to “Do you talk when you should be listening?”

  1. I know some people like that who think that as soon as you open your mouth it is their turn to start talking as well. I find that so aggravating, maybe because I am a good listener.But it does not come naturally surely.So if I learnt to do it so can others.
    As some one asked me sometime ago, “what is constructive listening?”
    I said it is when someone is chatting to you, one way to show the person that you are listening, apart from looking them in the eye, is to ask a question so that the person talking can expand on what they want you to hear and understand about what they are telling you.
    It is the similar thing with praying, we often talk at God and don’t often listen for him to answer us.
    Be careful.

    • Carol

      It’s great to know that you have learned to listen well. It is not a skill that a lot of people have, however as my post states it is a very important one.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts as you have done so often on my posts. 🙂

  2. Great piece Ken. Listening is very important. The point about valuing ones own opinion too much is interesting too. In my early 20’s ish, I lacked a lot of self-confidence, but from feedback I received, I was surprised to hear (at that time anyway lol) how people valued my opinion so much. To go from a place of thinking what I had was not of interest to people to that kind of empowerment put me in a position where I perhaps over compensated and always felt my opinion should be heard. That said, I think I’ve always been a good listener and that goes back to the times I would take stuff in, even if I didn’t give it out. What I do tend to do though, is anticipate when someone is finishing their sentence and then come in with my angle etc. If I get that wrong, and they haven’t finished speaking, it comes across that I talk over them… which of course can appear as if their view is not important to me, which is not the case.

    • Sloetry

      Your point about anticipating what other people say is something that many people suffer from. Especially when they have heard a similar point many times before.

      No matter how well you listen, if you anticipate someone’s answer you will more than likely be seen as someone who does not listen and as you state they will think that you do not value their thoughts.

      You are ahead of the game as you are aware of what you are doing and acknowledge that you need to address your anticipation.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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