Learning To Listen

 “We should never pretend to know what we don’t know, we should not feel ashamed to ask and learn from people below, and we should listen carefully to the views of the cadres at the lowest levels. Be a pupil before you become a teacher; learn from the cadres at the lower level before you issue orders.” –Mao Tse-tung

Listening skills are necessary to become the person that everyone wants to talk to. People love the advice of those who listen to what they have to say. When a person listens without interruption, it is profound wisdom and a clue that they know the importance of learning to listen.


Have you ever been talking to someone who was looking in another direction and not at you? They seemed to be pre-occupied with what the people across the room were saying. What were your feelings?

You may have thought; this conversation is not very important and I wonder why I am wasting my time, or why did they bother? You also thought about it long after the conversation was over, and even wish you had not put yourself into that position.

This happens too often with individuals who are not living in the moment and who have not learned how to listen. Every conversation is important, or it should be.

Learning to listen requires skills just like any other personal growth improvement. If we could place ourselves in the situation above, we would more than likely try to remember not being heard is not a pleasant feeling.

Listening Skills requires the following:

  • Eye contact
  • Watching a person’s emotions, hand movements, and stance
  • Being able to ask questions that will give answers to what has not been said
  • Learning the difference in giving constructive suggestions without being critical
  • Learn to discuss without arguing
  • Learning how to portray leadership without saying, “I’m the boss”
  • Learning to treat others the way you would want to be treated if you were trying to express yourself

Thinking before you speak

Quote:  “A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with.” –Kenneth A. Wells

Example of Someone Who Is Not Listening

If a person is not listening, they often will just shake their head in response and pretend they agree with what you have said. They are looking around the room, not at you, and they actually do not know if they agree or not. The sound of a voice, not the words, nor the meaning was heard.

In other words, they have no clue if it was an important conversation or not. More times than not, they probably agreed to something they do not agree with. Their interest was in the conversation they could overhear standing next to them, not you.

This is not good listening skills and nothing that was articulated got any further than in one ear and out the other. It did not go through the brain, if it had, they would be able to recall what was said when they are reminded they agreed with you. So often people will just up and walk away from a full conversation because they see someone more interesting they want to talk to.

Why eye contact is important…

Eye contact is mandatory because it gives the person speaking the attention they deserve and the attention you would want if the position were reversed.

If you are looking at someone, you can see their emotions and better understand the meaning of the words that are being said. You can tell by eye contact, hand movement, and stance if they are truly saying what is relevant to the conversation or if their own mind is distracted.

Stop Talking -Start Listening

“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something.” –Wilson Mizner

When a person has the ability to listen, we can have learned from the quote above. Listening skills can help a person learn something themselves that can make their knowledge, success, and life more profound.

Learning to listen can also give the person seeking answers the ability to express him or herself more readily. When we give others the ability to speak without interruption, it means we are actually concerned with what they have to say.

Too often, we cannot listen without trying to butt in and give our response without hearing the entire story. In other words, we cannot stop talking long enough to listen, and therefore it places us in the position of being misunderstood.

Voicing opinion without full understanding…

Voicing our opinion without knowing all the details is not constructive; it is actually being insensitive and unproductive.

“Effective questioning brings insight, which fuels curiosity, which cultivates wisdom.” — Chip Bell

No one knows the answers to every person’s needs and all situations. However, when a person can listen to what is being said without saying anything and watches the actions of the person; they will have better answers, and advice if appropriate.

In any relationship especially work-related; being able to give a non-partial reaction to what has been said, without a negative response can make all the difference in one’s ability to govern others.

This means that you heard the conversation, examined the content, and can give alternatives that are practical, reasonable, and constructive without partiality.

Learning to listen makes governing easier in that it will grant an open mind even when you know conversations are contradictory or untrue.

Listening skills are a necessity for great conversations.

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