Listening vs Hearing

There is a big difference between listening and hearing. Students hear me all the time. But do they really listen? Do any of us?

I try my best to be an active listener. Years ago I took a personal communications class. We learned about personal space and how to actively listen. At the time, I thought the practices we were doing were so funny. To take the time to say, “What I hear you say is…” seemed very out of place. Today I wished more people would do this.

How do you tell if people are listening versus just hearing the noise? We must listen in return. It’s said (by someone) that most of the time, we are thinking about our own responses instead of truly listening to the people talking to us. I’m going to try to listen for clarity, not so I can immediately respond.

I wish more people would as well.

2 thoughts on “Listening vs Hearing

  1. Tammy, I struggle with this. Between doing like you mentioned, wanting to respond, to other distractions like my phone or watch, I find that I must consciously focus in order to clearly listen to others. I will say, though, if I have a personal connection to the person I am listening to, it’s easier to let go of the distractions and really listen.

    • It isn’t easy being an active listening. I am often unsuccessful. But because I know I should I do try to slow down conversations that feel “big” to me. I completely agree that really listening is so much easier when we have a connection to the people in the conversation with us.

      Thanks for the reply. 🙂

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