What do we mean by "listening"? Listening is so much more than just registering sound received by the ear and relaying it to the brain. Listening involves three important parts; interpreting, evaluating and reacting or responding.

We interpret what we hear and this could lead to misunderstanding as opposed to understanding. We evaluate what we hear and decide what to do with this new information. Then we react or respond depending on how advanced we are in our communication skills.

Hear are some listening habits you may want to break:

Zoned Out
This could occur for many reasons: allowing yourself to be distracted, or not wanting to listen to that person. Possibly the person did not get your attention before launching into their communication.

Fake Listening
Did you ever try to look like you’re listening while you are miles away in your mind? Have you ever missed an important piece of information about your job or some strategic information from your boss?

Just the Facts Listening
"Just the facts ma’am" as Detective Joe Friday used to say on the TV show Dragnet. If anyone remembers that show you’ll know that Joe got the facts and missed the story. There is so much more to learn from peoples?style of presentation, their choice of words, and accompanying body language are all part of the communication.

We’ve all done it. Started putting our argument or our own story into words in our head while the other person is still talking. You’re totally out of awareness, not even near being in the moment, ready to talk, and missing everything that’s being said.

Assuming you know what the other person is trying to tell you before they are finished and their meaning can be determined and/or confirmed, you interrupt so intrusively that the speaker is left with his sentence dangling in mid-air.

Expectation Listening
Do you misinterpret what you hear because you already expect what the other person is going to say? Do you refuse to hear something that may produce uncomfortable feelings? Notice what expectations you have as you listen to others today.

Defensive Listening
Do you interpret the speaker’s intention assuming you are being attacked?

Do you just wait breathlessly to attack someone’s point of view? Do you listen intensely for points on which you can disagree?

Here’s how to begin to listen:
. Uncross your legs and arms
. Sit/or stand with your feet flat and solidly on the floor
. Rest your hands lightly on your thighs or the arms of the chair or at your sides
. Breathe slowly and deeply
. Make eye contact and maintain a steady, relaxed gaze
. Blink and glance away from time to time
. Hold you shoulders back and relaxed
. Keep your back straight and relaxed
. Relax your face and allow it to reflect what you are hearing

Do a little work on your listening skills every day instead of a lot of work all at once. Pacing is a life skill as well.

Author's Bio: 

Michaela David

Course of Action

Toronto ON Canada

email: survivor.specialist@sympatico.ca

Michaela is a Personal Life Coach, Clinical Psychotherapist, Writer,
and Keynote Speaker with twenty-five years of experience in workshop
design & delivery. She has a busy private practice and writes a monthly
column entitled Surviving Work, dealing with day-to-day workplace issues.
Ms. David is a cancer survivor and brings the wisdom gained from this
experience to all aspects of her work in the form of humour. presence,
and openness.