Are you listening?

Is listening the same thing as hearing? When we engage in conversation with someone else, we can either hear the words they are say or we can listen to what they have to say. At the surface, hearing and listening seem like interchangeable terms. One cannot go with out the other yet somehow, listening is so much more useful than hearing.

When you hear someone, you are simply sensing that they are saying something. Hearing is possible without really knowing what a person is saying. When this occurs, you really don’t gain anything from the experience. Hearing is something we are born with the ability to do.

Listening, is a much deeper experience. When listening to someone, our minds are engaged in the interaction. We hear them but listening takes it a step further. We hear with an intent to understand and engage is meaningful dialogue. Listening is a valuable skill that is often overlooked. Many people lack the ability to listen because they think what they have to say is more important.

Real listening results in all parties being left better off. They exchange information, and learn from each other. In many conversations, I often observe that one or both parties are not listening to each other. Every one just wants to state his or her own point without scaring about the others. People are so involved in their own conversation, they forget other people may have things to say that are just as important.

It really makes a difference when we choose to listen rather than hear. In my college lectures its important i listen to my professors so I understand the material rather than just hear what they are saying. In life this skill is just as (if not more) just a valuable as it is for college. We cannot expect to learn and grow as a community if we aren’t willing to listen to each other and have meaningful conversations.

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