The Difference Between Hearing and Listening

"People don't have to have their way, they just have to have their way considered" - Kevin Henson

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You are in a discussion at work or at home and you have what you feel is a great point to make. You wait for the perfect time to bring up your brilliant idea, only to have it completely blown off. It is as if you never said anything, and the discussion goes on like nothing ever happened. 

What about this one? You are leading a discussion with a group of co-workers and you are about to wrap up the meeting. You can feel the plane landing, and to be honest, you are ready for lunch. Someone who has contributed very little to the meeting decides it is time to speak their mind and you half listen and half plan what kind of toppings you are going to put on your pizza. You glaze over their point in efforts to get the meeting wrapped up and let everyone go. 

The concept of hearing is not foreign to us. We hear the birds. We hear the traffic. We hear our own inner dialog. But their is a common misconception that hearing is the same as listening. That could not be further from the truth. When you hear, you are simply acknowledging that sounds are there. When you listen, your brain is actively working to compute those sounds into thoughts that you can then have opinions and draw conclusions from. 

What kind of leader are you? 

A leader's job is to listen. When you listen, you might not have to agree. In some cases, you might be the furthest from the notion of agreement, but the person you are listening to is waiting for you to respond. If you don't listen, and you merely hear their words, you have no chance of validating that person's contributions. 

Make a point today to actively listen. If you don't agree, say so. But acknowledge the persons points and make points of your own. 

Be a listener.  


This falls right in line with the "Everyone Communicates Few Connect". If you are looking to have your company and people grow, click the link below and we can discuss coaching for specific people or speaking to a larger group.