… and why people may not be listening to you.

If you think you’re not being listened to, then maybe it is because you may not be really listening to them, it is hard work to hear what others are saying. If you really desire to listen, so that you really hear what others are saying, then try out this internal check by asking yourself the following:

Mind-reading:
“Do I think I know what the other person is going to say next?”
You won’t be really listening if you already think you know what someone else is going to say next.

Rehearsing:
You’re not listening if you’re just waiting for the other person’s lips to stop moving so you can say what you’ve already formulated in your mind.

Filtering:
This is when you only hear what you want to hear – and leave out the rest. You could call this “selective hearing”.

Dreaming:
“Uhhh … what did you say?” Its when your thoughts are drifting off …

Identifying:
If everything you hear is referring to you, then you probably aren’t listening to everything that is being said.

Comparing:
This is when you’re passing judgement. It is when you get sidetracked assessing the messenger that you’re not getting the message.

Derailing:
“Yeah, so, what I wanted to talk about …”
You’re changing the subject too quickly and that tells the others you’re not interested in anything they have to say.

Discounting/Sparring:
If you hear what’s being said, but quickly belittle it or discount it.

Placating:
If you agree with everything you hear just to be nice or to avoid conflict, that doesn’t make you a good listener.

If you feel like any one of these hits a bit close to home, then good for you! You’re becoming more aware of what it takes to be a good listener. Awareness is the first step to improvement.

We’ll be talking more about awareness and how that is the secret sauce to coaching, as we move along. For now, I have a challenge for you: see if you can notice where any of this is happening around you. I’m not encouraging you to call anyone out on it, just the opposite, to be exact!  I’m asking you to become aware of when it takes place!
Once you become aware of it, you’ll notice when you do it, too.

I’d love to hear from you, on how your listening skills are improving through awareness of these booby-traps to listening. And please do share your comments and experiences as you try this out!

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