Why Bother Listening?

What difference could better listening skills make to you and your people? What impact could better listening have on your business? What value would you put on improving your connections with your clients?

Imagine the benefits if all your people fell in love with listening, listening more actively and deeply to your clients and to each other.

Imagine if this resulted in everyone feeling really heard and valued?


Listening is my passion and I offer people and teams the opportunity to feel heard and to find out how to more actively listen.

I am curious to know your thoughts and observations on the above.


Colin D. Smith
Colin D. Smith
COLIN is ‘The Listener’, a listening skills specialist and the ‘go-to’ person for individuals and teams who want to be heard, think for themselves, and transform their business and personal relationships through active listening. Colin has that innate ability to actively listen to people. He works with management, project and creative teams, facilitating the development and improvement of their listening and thinking skills. Thereby equipping them to more effectively meet their business, relationship and service challenges. He also works privately with individuals, enabling them to feel heard and valued, to think more clearly for themselves, articulate their creative ideas, address their personal concerns, and achieve their personal and professional goals. Colin has had a varied and successful career in consultancy, business development, IT and customer support, across many sectors, including finance, motor, retail and the NHS. In looking back he realises that much of his success was due to his listening and connecting abilities. His inquisitive and curious mind also enables him to explore, with others, unusual, thought-provoking, yet grounded, observations and alternative approaches to business, people, systems, and change. To make things happen, and to take ideas and thinking further, he connects his Clients with his trusted network of entrepreneurs, consultants, thought leaders, free thinkers, coaches and change makers.

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  1. Knowing how to observe well the other person, perceiving also its nonverbal language and his tone of voice, encourages our concentration and therefore also our listening system is activated more effectively, and then listening. Observation and listening will self-feed so in a positive spiral that promotes not only the development of an active listening, but also the improvement of the interpersonal communication competence. These elements turn out to be essential for the important process of learning of adults that is integrated especially with direct experience.

    • Thank you Aldo for your observations, always spot on.

      Being fully present, in the moment, in flow are the key ways to being able to deeply connect with the person in front of you. In this place, we notice far more than just the words being spoken. For me, I am aware that I notice the subtle shift in tone of voice when someone is speaking or their eyes which convey what they are really feeling. And in reflecting back what I have seen and heard brings us closer.

      This is helpful in building relationships as it is, as you say Aldo, in learning. If we are fully engaged, we are going to take so much more of what is in front of us. I recall learning moments in my adult life, related to a topic I was ‘taught’ in my school days, and how this time I learned about it rather than failing to do so through not bothering or being distracted.


  2. Colin – Your statement “Imagine if this resulted in everyone feeling really heard and valued?” made me think of this article:

    I wonder how much of what the article talks about takes place in business / work circles where we know our colleagues so well, we think we know what they’re going to say, so we tune them out?

    • Thank you Jeff for your thoughts and for sharing the article.

      I could not agree more with your point about the same scenarios taking place in business and work circles.

      When you boil it all down, listening is all about relationships, do we want them and if so how deep do we want them. I guess it, “takes two to tango”, as they say. In much the same way as the we are assessing the person listening to us, “how much can they take”, we are assessing the compatibility of the person we are with, in terms of how deep are they prepared to go.

      Yet the irony is that we are all seeking that deep and meaningful connection, even if we don’t realise it. For those who don’t know it, when you find someone deeply listening to you, giving you their full attention, empathically listening, you will realise.


    • Colin – This is what I’m curious about: “Yet the irony is that we are all seeking that deep and meaningful connection, even if we don’t realise it.” I’d like to believe that, but many of the people I encountered in business didn’t seem to want that. They wanted a one-sided relationship: it was all about them. Perhaps they were all walled up and couldn’t let the need for connection show?

    • You ask a great question Jeff, thank you.

      I believe, fundamentally, that we are all dying to be heard, literally and figuratively.

      I know of many situations where I am sitting with someone I know well and they say something that I am totally unaware of to the other person in the conversation. We think we know people far more than we actually do.

      Your point of them being so walled up they are not open to being heard, feels true to me too. I have been in conversations with stone walled people who start chattering nineteen to the dozen. After about 20 minutes or so they realise they have been talking the whole time and that I have been with them throughout, giving them my full attention, empathically listening, and they stop. They look at me and ask me a question, usually prefaced with “I have been talking too much…” If I simply reference something they said earlier and ask another question, off they go again.

      This can happen a few times. More often than not, they will slow down their rate of speaking, they become calmer, and may then say, “I have never told this to anyone else before…”

      It is at times like this I know my work is making a difference.

      My belief is that it is not possible to ‘hold it all in’, ‘to bottle it all up’, without it doing some damage to us, at some level. I also know of professions, such as hairdressers, treatment providers, (masseuse, physios, etc), and those who operate helplines, where the have people ‘open up’ on them without provocation because they know they will listen. Therein lies a deeper issue, we go to people we don’t know and pay them to listen to us. Why can’t we do that at home or in the workplace?

      I appreciate your question.


    • You make an interesting point (Jeff?) and I agree. A colleague of mine runs Mastermind groups for CEOs and in her cohort of around 50 she believes and feels that the vast majority are “dead from the neck down”, (her words). What she means is that they are so stuck in their head that feelings and emotions are pushed so far down they don’t ‘know’ them.

      My thinking is that even these people coupled with a challenging situation, such as a loss of their parents or good friend, etc., would struggle to remain emotionless. They come from a position that showing emotions is a weakness, whereas you and I know that it and being vulnerable is not only a strength but a way of building relationship and connection.

      I also believe that the way the world is moving is to have more human workplaces, where it is okay to have and show feelings and emotions.

      Hopefully, only of the positives from this virus will be more kindness, caring and sharing of feelings and emotions. I sincerely hope so.

      Stay well


    • Thank you Darlene for sharing your insight. I like the idea of engaged listening, it speaks volumes. Like you, I agree about listening being the most important element of communications. Listen first, listen all ways, always. Colin