Focused Listening

Nov 13, 2013 by


Recently, we were in a restaurant waiting for our table when I overhead a little girl say to her sibling, “If you don’t listen to me, it’s going to take me forever to tell the story.”

I thought of how many times I fail to listen. I mean really listen. Taking the time to set down whatever I am doing. Stopping my brain from following the trail it is already on. Looking at the person talking. And completely focus on what they are saying – with their words, their facial expressions, their hands. Totally absorbed with their communication.

I’m afraid we don’t do this kind of listening very often. We have become multi-taskers who must continue doing whatever we are doing while lending a partial ear to what the other person is saying.

Why can’t we just stop and listen?

  • Our thoughts and actions are more important?
  • The other person’s words are just their thing, not mine?
  • I do not value that person’s opinion or thoughts?
  • I don’t have time to listen to them?husbandwife listening

Hopefully, we are not consciously thinking any of these reasons. But are we thinking this unconsciously? Is this really how we feel about others deep down? Have we lost the art of valuing other people’s words?

Some tough questions to answer. We have to really look within ourselves and determine if we have become so prideful, self-centered, and narcissistic as to believe that our marriages, children, family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and even the strangers we interact with are not valuable enough for us to give them our time to listen.

Think of what we would gain if we did listen.

  • Stronger relationships
  • Opportunities to meet needs in others that we previously didn’t even realize were there.
  • Knowing and understanding another person more fully.
  • Building trust in our relationships.
  • Connecting with our spouse, our children and others on a deeper level.

Focused listening takes time and selflessness, but the relationships are worth it.

What do you need to change to become a more focused listener?



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