Are You (Really) A Good Listener?

Many of us fall into the trap of using the terms ‘listening’ and ‘hearing’ interchangeably, but in many contexts the difference between actively paying attention to the sounds and words being transmitted versus passively allowing sound to enter our ears can be vital. To some, the very act of listening is in itself an artform, but those who neglect to hone the skill in more mundane situations at work or at home run the risk of alienating those around them and potentially missing vital information or emphasis.

If your attention tends to dart between the person speaking and your own phone or computer, or if you find that those you talk with rarely get the chance to make it to the end of their sentence, chances are you could be considered a bad listener. Working on your listening skills can be a great way to re-engage with your environment and your peers, and will likely be perceived as an indication of respect to those around you. Switching off or sleep-moding your devices when you get into conversations, biting your tongue while you wait for someone to finish talking, and allowing time to think between speakers, are all good ways to begin – but they require strength of will and humility.

You may be guiltily aware that you’re a bad listener and looking for advice, in which case be sure to check out this new infographic with further ideas on how to improve those listening skills. On the other hand, we all know bad listeners who seem blissfully ignorant of the fact they’re talking over you, so it doesn’t hurt to reflect on your own listening skills independently from time to time… just in case. The infographic also includes a diagnostic flowchart for just that purpose. Remember, if you’re busy and can’t give someone the attention they deserve, it can be more productive to be honest and postpone the chat than to half-listen while you complete your task.

Are you a good listener?
Are you a good listener? [Infographic] by the team at CT Business Travel

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  1. I find one of the keys is to listen – rather than think about what your fast, witty, pithy, ‘end-it’ comment back is going to be – regardless of what is being said.

    it is the equivalent of those long comment threads where people write things that are absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand – which I think of as the equivalent of barging into a conversation t a party between two people talking about ‘x’ – and the new person immediately starts talking not even about ‘y’ – another letter – but ‘7’

  2. This infographic is great! Communication and relationship building can become stronger and create successful results when various techniques are practiced. In my experience with coaching individuals, I have learned that as humans we have layers of filters and perceptions that either benefit our connection with others or creates drama and conflict. The art form of listening is a powerful tool and can change the outcome of any situation from the possibility of challenge to the opportunity of co-operation and collaboration. Thank you for posting!