How do you listen?

Photo courtesy of KY (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of KY (Creative Commons)

When someone is talking to you, how do you listen?

I’ve noticed lately that when I’m talking to some people, I wonder if they are even hearing me. They are looking around, like they have something better to do or are searching for someone better to talk to.

There are some who make you feel like they are hurrying you along, saying something like “yeah yeah yeah” as you talk. They make you feel like either whatever you have to say is unimportant or they have heard before and are about to rush off.

Then there are the real listeners. They lean in, like they want to hear you even better. They look at you in the eyes, and direct their full attention to you. Sometimes, especially in a work situation, they may even take notes, but it’s more like jotting down important points quickly, so they can get back to being focused on you. They may even repeat some of what you say to make sure they understand it.

Only the real listeners make you feel valued, like what you have to say is significant and you are important to them.

The next time someone has something important to tell you, reflect on how you are listening to them.

Which kind of listener are you?