Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hearing vs. Listening

So I guess I totally missed last week. I intended to write and it just didn't happen. The thing is, I felt like I didn't write. It really is therapeutic. So the topic on my mind right now is communication. I seem to like this topic. I guess its because we all do it, some more effectively than others, and most of us think we are pretty good at it. At least we mostly think we aren't bad at it. The truth is, most of us are bad at truly communicating. We are all pretty good at talking and sending out messages, but that is not really communication. Good communication involves more listening than it does talking. And, I am finally realizing, listening is not the same as hearing.

Hearing means someone made a sound and your brain registered it as such. Listening means you heard it, processed the message and applied some sort of reaction to the message. Perhaps the message instigated a change in behavior, perhaps it elicited an emotional response, perhaps you gave a verbal rebuttal. Either way, you reacted to the message that was sent to you. Really listening is a step deeper than that. You react appropriately to the message that the sender intended to send. That is where I have a hard time still.

I tend to react to the message I thought I heard. I do not always really listen and thus I do not always react to the message the sender intended to send. This is a fine but VERY important distinction and one I am working desperately on making part of my every day routine.

I would love some advice on this topic. Are you a good listener? Do you practice some kind of technique to be better at listening? Please share!!

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