Listening is Hard: Three Ways to Improve Listening Skills

I work with a large number of colleagues who have English as their second language.

Sometimes, to give my eardrums a break, because I work from home, I leave my conference calls on speaker. This past week, my husband passed through and paused, tilted his head and said, “That is a well-educated guy.”

He was right. That’s not new - my husband’s a wicked smart, intuitive guy. He’s usually right about almost everything.

Here’s what’s interesting - the guy he was listening to, speaks English as a second language.

In every meeting, this guy often gets over-talked and is almost always asked to repeat himself a few times during calls. On a regular basis, he has to restate previously made points in follow up emails and redundant meetings. He knows his stuff at an expert level. He’s professional and entirely credible.

But to be HEARD, he has to repeat. ALL.THE.TIME.

Why?

 
 

Because LISTENING is hard.

Why listening skills are difficult

Hearing happens to us. It’s a circumstance.

Listening takes effort. It’s hard. It’s a discipline; a skill that only gets better with practice.

Can listening skills be improved?
Yes, yes they can.

Why listening skills are important

How can listening skills help you? When you listen you gain…  

  • Your time back: You don’t have to ask for repeats.

  • Stress relief: Multitasking is killing your brain and makes us feel like we’re behind.

    Like, right now. How many windows do you have open? Are you on your phone and at work? STOP it. Next time you have the chance to listen - STOP EVERYTHING ELSE and LISTEN.

  • Protect your energy: If needed, when you’re really dialed in and listening, you can get any needed answers or clarification right away instead after-the-fact, without having to waste energy spinning around hypothetical interpretations of partially caught meaning.

  • Results: Want to get more done? Quicker? Better? Tune in to one thing at a time. LISTEN, with your whole self.

BONUS TIP: Sometimes, my four year old acts out for attention (shocking, I know) by increasing her volume or doing behavior that she knows I’ll react to (pull on curtains, push her younger sister, etc.).

When I have the presence of mind to recognize that’s what’s going on, I respond with this amazing little ninja move: “Alright, I can tell you want some attention. Right now, you’ve got both of my eyes and both of my ears.”

Like 95% of the time, this shuts down the inappropriate behavior, gives me the chance to be present with my daughter and experience her moment that she desperately wanted to share.

It’s a beautiful thing, being present with the ones we love. At the end of the day, don’t we all want to be seen and heard?

Which brings me to what you want to know now… How to be HEARD. We’ll be talking about that next week. Meanwhile, drop me a line and let me know what about being HEARD do you have the hardest time with?

How listening skills can be improved

For three ways to LISTEN like you mean it, I created this guide for you >> GET IT HERE.

Now, let’s go exercise those ear muscles!

With love, joy, gratitude and my full attention,

Tarah Keech | hello@therealcrew.com
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