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November 2000 - Why You May Not Be a Good Listener

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John A. Kline, PhD jkline@klinespeak.com
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November  2000

Why You May Not Be a Good Listener

After the August column asked the question: “How Good a Listener are you?” several folks asked me to tell why we aren’t good listeners. Here are five common reasons:

  1. Learning not to listen. We have discovered that many times it is to our advantage to pretend that we didn’t hear what was being said. Husbands seem especially adept at not hearing what wives tell them.
  2. Thinking about what we are going to say rather than listening to the person talking to us. Yet in planning our response we often miss the point the other person is making and when we do speak, our response doesn’t make sense.
  3. Talking when we should be listening. Someone observed that “we have two ears and only one mouth, so we should spend at least twice as much time listening as talking.” Unfortunately many people do just the reverse.
  4. Hearing what we expect to hear rather than what is said. Our expectations and predispositions often cloud the meaning the speaker intended.
  5. Simply, not paying attention. This bad habit probably says it all. Attention is important for effective listening to occur.

Today, see if you can improve as a listener. Your life and that of those around you will be better because of it.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama
jkline@klinespeak.com


November 2000 - Why You May Not Be a Good Listener
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