listeningHere are a few things people do when they should be listening:

  • Anything with a smartphone (Unless actually using it to talk so someone.  Do people still do that?)
  • Thinking about what they’re going to say next
  • Deciding the other person is wrong
  • Finishing the other person’s sentence
  • Looking at a computer screen
  • Focusing on the rogue hair somewhere on the other person
  • Judging their outfit
  • Getting panicked about what hasn’t gotten done today
  • Wondering what’s for dinner
  • Trying to figure out how to extricate oneself from talking to this person
  • Driving while talking on a cell phone – in which case that’s  doing three things badly

Genuinely listening is getting more and more difficult to do as more and more things demand your attention.  But doing so is a great gift and true show of respect.

Every interaction is a chance to get better at it.  Changing behaviors is challenging, so try this.  For one week make certain you are truly listening just one time a day. The next week make it two times per day. The third week, three times per day. And so on.  You’ll find yourself being a better listener over time.