Are You Really Listening?

Andy Bounds, the motivational speaker, comes up with these little gems from time to time. Here’s one I say recently.

Quick quiz: What’s wrong with this conversation?

Person #1: I had a bad day at work today. I argued with Sarah
Person #2: I hate it when I argue with people. I fell out with a friend last month
Person #1: I know. She didn’t like how I described her job in a meeting
Person #2: Exactly the same happened with me.  And the friendship hasn’t been the same since
Person #1 I don’t know what to do
Person #2: I don’t either. I used to really like him

So what’s wrong with this conversation?

The answer: It isn’t a conversation. 

Neither of them is listening to the other one. This is a good example of what Dr. Stephen Covey meant when he said ‘most people do not listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intent to reply’

In my experience, everyone thinks they’re good at listening to other people. 

But conversations like this happen all-too-often.

So, next time someone says something to you, rather than saying “The same thing happened to me”, ask more about their situation:

  • “That sounds hard – what happened?”
  • “Really? Tell me more”

It’s an easy fix.

But it makes all the difference – to your chat, to the outcomes following it, and to how much you both enjoy it. 

So the Action Point is:

In your very next conversation, do your best to say “tell me more”. And guess what?  They’ll probably tell you more!