Are You Listening?

“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen.  Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.” Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen

Have you ever asked someone a question, and didn’t remember the answer? Unfortunately, this happens to all of us. Usually you begin by asking a question, and receive an answer. You ask the question again, then someone gets frustrated or annoyed that you didn’t listen. This scenario would be frustrating to anyone. You asked a question and didn’t even take the time to listen to the answer. Listening is something that all of us need to work on.  We have people in our lives that need us to listen to them: colleagues, spouses, friends, and children. This is a fundamental principal for success in all relationships, both in and outside the business sector.

The value of understanding what someone has to say

Asking the right questions will uncover someone’s motivation or potential problems. When you listen carefully and analyze what someone is saying this gives you the opportunity to learn information. Listening to understand someone is much more involved than listening to hear and respond. Truly understanding what someone is trying to communicate helps you achieve success in all aspects of life.

Clarifying what someone is saying

When someone asks a question or makes a statement it is a good idea to simply find out their motivation. Typically, when disagreements occur it is because of miscommunication or one party assuming that the other has a motivation that they don’t. Not everyone has good intentions and this can typically be uncovered by asking a few questions. In order to assess the situation accurately you will need to listen carefully and clarify statements in order to uncover motivation and gain understanding.

Active Listening

Active  listening  is when you are taking in the information and processing it. This is not figuring out what you are going to say next while someone is talking. When we listen actively we show people character traits that are invaluable today in the business as well as the personal sector: respect, curiosity, interest, understanding, and attention.

Problem Solving

We can’t solve problems if we don’t know what is actually wrong. Listening to others and asking questions will help navigate to a solution more quickly than if you make assumptions and move on. Problem solving cannot come successfully without listening to others and finding out the details of the problem. Listening comes before success. I think that we will find much more success in business as well as our personal lives if we take the time to stop and listen to what someone is really saying. We all need to take the time to ask questions to clarify and find more information so we can problem solve.

Tips for active listening:
  • Try to picture what the speaker is saying, this will help your mind not to wander
  • Make sure you are understanding what someone is saying and if needed ask questions to clarify
  • Listen attentively and ignore distractions surrounding you, try to have an open mind and evaluate the message not the person
  • Focus and be present, be aware of your non-verbal communication and body language
  • Practice active listening regularly so you can improve your skills
  • Reflect on how you improved your listening skills or not during conversations and ask yourself, what was the outcome


Hopefully we can all take these tips to heart and achieve better success in our relationships.