Most people are poor listeners

Victor Ng’eno
Mar 4, 2019 · 4 min read

The phrase “listening is more important than talking” is very common to everyone. But does everyone understands the meaning of this statement? Not really.

Listening is a skill — and like any other skill, it takes time and serious effort to perfect it. For some people however — the lucky ones — this comes almost naturally to them.

Are you listening?

How do you know you are not listening?

When having a conversation, do you pay attention to what is being said or you just listen to the first three words, and then sort of know what the other person is trying to say. Have you? Definitely NOT!

Why? When you assume that you already know what the other person is saying, it means that you have understood it from your perspective(maybe from prior experience relating to what is being said.) Now this is where the problem lies. You have assumed your own understanding is similar to that of your conversation partner.

But, is it? No! In the end, you will not have gained any insight/new information from the conversation. You sought explanations inside your head, by skimming through the first three words and believing you know what is being said. By doing this, you have denied yourself the chance to understand the perspective of the talker. As result, you won’t have the opportunity to compare the way you comprehend the topic/issue at hand versus the perspective of your conversation partner.

What you lose from missing your conversation partner’s perspective

Firstly, you won’t truly know if the talker has a full grasp of the topic at hand. Your conversation partner might be making up things, have little knowledge of the topic, or have a completely wrong/warped view of things. However, because you decided to fill the missing bits of the conversation, you won’t come to this realization. Why? You lack the data to interrogate both internally in your mind or externally through other sources.

Secondly, if the talker had valuable information to share, you will miss the opportunity to add this new insight into your knowledge box! What a loss? In addition, you won’t realize the flaw in your understanding, as there is no sounding board to agree or dispute with your point of view. In the end, you will not have learned or gained new information yet the conversation happened.

Effects of poor listening

  • Poor decision making — when you want to make a decision you usually consult a number of friends or experts. However, if you’re a poor listener you won’t incorporate the advice given by these people, as result, you end up with a decision only made by yourself without external input.
  • Poor judge of character — the first qualification to being an excellent judge of character is to be a good listener — nay, a very good one. You have to be keen enough to note the subtle changes in tone of voice and the more important one:hearing what wasn’t said by hearing what was said. Does this makes sense? Of course, gaining the ability hear what was implied is key. However, if you just skim through the conversation, and believe you already know what it’s all about, then you will miss small, subtle but crucial hints in the conversation. Therefore, you will miss those tiny but important details people give which are usually a big tell on their character.
  • Ineffective leader — to have a fruitful relationship with employees/servants a leader has to be tuned to the needs, frustrations and ticking points of those under them. This requires impeccable listening abilities to be able to understand and maneuver this delicate relationships.
  • Unfulfilling personal relationships — as relationships experts usually say, communication is key in a relationship. But to have effective communication, listening is very vital;it enables you to be attuned to the needs of your partner, to notice subtle changes in their moods, to know when they need your support. If your relationship lacks listening, then surely it’s filled with perpetual frustration and disappointment, and doomed to fail.

Evidently, listening affects every facet of our lives: from home, work, and social activities. It has both direct and indirect effect on the quality of our lives. The better of a listener you become, the better the quality of your life;from mental health, better social life, better relationship with your significant other, family and friends, and also your work environment. Strife to be a good listener, life will be more easier to navigate! Good luck on your mission!

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