How in the world did we get into this mess?

Why are people so polarized in terms of their beliefs and values?

Why does there appear to be so much palpable anger and hatred in our world?

Why did we have one of the dirtiest presidential elections in our history?

I can think of one major reason for the above and that is a lack of communication. When you get a lack of communication, it is largely due to a lack of listening.

In today’s world people talk over each other instead of talk to each other. This is because most people are poor at listening to the other person. They would rather respond to someone than to listen to someone.

Consequently, true communication between people is not that great.People are much too preoccupied with themselves than with other people.

People are also much too defensive when other people speak to them. They lack patience.

In order to have people respect and trust you, they must feel that you are listening to them and not just going through the motions.

Communication forms the bedrock of all of our relationships. It it how we understand others and the way in which we get others to understand us. Listening plays an integral role in our communication with others.

Listening is also directly related to personal development. The better listener we become, the closer our relationship becomes with other people.

Good communication can occur only when listening is part of the process.

When you look at Social Media, you soon recognize that most people aren’t listening to the other person. Moreover, the communication oftentimes becomes ugly between the parties involved.

When people don’t communicate, anger and bitterness can be the result.

When you look at the presidential debates, the focus of the two opponents seemed to be in saying nasty things about each other.  Instead of addressing the major campaign issues of the day including health care, our spiraling federal deficit and climate change to name just a few, more time was spent denigrating each other.

Instead of expressing healthy differences of opinion on the Internet, it has been used in many cases to cyber bully others and embarrass them.

We need a world where more individuals can communicate more effectively with each other and agree to disagree without showing a lack of respect for each other. And in all cases, real communication comes from being better at listening to the other person.

Definition of Terms

To understand this material, we must define two words more closely. They are “Communication” and “Listen”.

Communication is defined as “the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else.”

Listen is defined as ” to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being said, sung, played, etc.”

How To Be A Good Listener

There are many ways in which to be a good listener. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Make Eye Contact – Look the person who is speaking to you directly in the eye. This is a sign that you are listening to the person talking to you. It is a sign that your attention is focused on him or her.
  2. Have An Open Mind – When the person is talking to you, listen with an open mind and try and put yourself in their shoes. Try to look at things from their perspective. By doing this you are showing the person empathy which makes your communication with the speaker that much more effective.
  3. Don’t Interrupt – Never interrupt the speaker who is talking to you until they have finished speaking or there is a lull in the conversation. If you interrupt the speaker who is talking to you, they will feel a lack of interest on your part. And it may be more difficult to regain their trust.
  4. Remember What You’ve Been Told – Concentrate on what the speaker is saying to you involving details and events of the conversation. If you don’t remember much of what the speaker said to you, it demonstrates a lack of interest on your part and can adversely affect your relationship with that person.
  5. Be Patient – Let the speaker get out their ideas and emotions in their own time.
  6. Ask Empowering Questions – By  asking empowering questions to the speaker, you are showing that you care about what they are saying to you. In addition, it will add to the communication you are having with the speaker.
  7. Avoid Comparing The Person’s Experiences To Your Own – Believe it or not, comparing the person’s experiences to your own does not make the speaker feel you are interested in what they have to say.
  8. Stop Saying I Or Me A Lot – This shows you are focused more on yourself than on the other person.
  9. Don’t Try To Change The Subject – Even if it’s a little uncomfortable, don’t try to change the subject.This again could show a lack of interest.
  10. Don’t Try To Interrogate The Person You Are Speaking With – This will make the speaker feel uncomfortable.
  11. Confidentiality – let the speaker know that your communication will be held in the strictest of confidence. Also let them know if they want to speak to you further about it you are available.
  12. Follow Up – Call or write to the person who spoke to you and follow up with them. See if you can be of any further help but don’t nag them.

Benefits Of Being A Good Listener

  1. It forms the foundation upon which we build our lives.
  2. You can develop meaningful relationships with people.
  3. It makes you more observant and thoughtful.
  4. You gain more understanding of an individual
  5. Listening builds goodwill as well as shows interest and respect. By doing this, you gain the trust of the other person.

Stephen Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said ” being listened to is the psychological equivalent of air. It is the deepest hunger of the human heart. It communicates to another “you matter to me, I find you of value, I care for and respect you” it warms and nourishes the spirit. It stimulates affection. It solidifies bonds, it adds to human happiness.”


Communication is key to all our relationships.

It is probably one of the most important skills for us to learn.

Nevertheless without listening real communication between people cannot be achieved.

The purpose of this material is to show the reader what it takes to be a good listener and its benefits.





About the author: Bob

Bob is a businessman, athlete, and entrepreneur who is passionate about helping people progress personally through better self-awareness.

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