Why people don’t value listening

We prefer speaking over listening because we would rather persuade than be persuaded. Being open to listening means embracing the possibility of being persuaded. And this represents a subtle threat to our own worldview.

Any time we come across information that conflicts with our worldview, our instinct is to push it away. As a result, we would much rather speak and reinforce our worldview, then listen and create the potential for it to change.

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The Other Half of Communication

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What comes to mind when we think of communication skills
  • Public speaking, clarity, and tone of voice, and the ability to organize our thoughts in a logical manner are the most common.
  • When thinking about oral communication, this would include the pacing of our speech along with the tone of our voice.
  • When thinking about written communication, this would include word usage, sentence length, and formatting.

But this is only half of communication.

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Listening is the other half of communication and is neglected most of the time.

We usually think that being a good listener means being polite and that it is for the benefit of the speaker, not for ourselves. But the true value of listening isn’t for the speaker at all. It is for the listener. Being able to understand and gather the ideas of others allows us to add them to our own.

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One of Steven Covey’s seven habits in his best-selling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, was entitled “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Most people would really like to just have someone to listen to their thoughts. Speaking and informing can only be successful after that.

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Flashcards can be a powerful learning tool, but they can also be a waste of time.

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