There may just be some hidden meaning and understanding to listening. Many people confuse listening with the physiological ability of perceiving sound made by someone or something, as in with hearing. Listening goes beyond hearing to giving one’s full attention to someone or something.  This is why parents tell children to, “Listen to me!” Or a person tells their partner, “You’re not listening to me!”  We typically don’t say, “Hear me!”  Typically, when a person feels like another person is (actually) paying attention to what is being said, then, and only then, will the other party feel as if they have been listened to.  Listening comes with action.  One must demonstrate by his/her action that he heard what was said and took steps to address what was said, thereby cementing the listening.  Listening with no action is simply hearing.

According to the group Transform Inc., 85% of what we learn is through listening.  75% of the time we are distracted, preoccupied or forgetful, and 50% of the time we can immediately recall what was sad.  That percentage lessens to 20% an our later.  Other journalists have found that while we engage in some form of communication about 70-80% of our day, we only devote 55% to actual listening.  So there’s very good reason why many people are frustrated with not feeling listened to, because the numbers show us, they are NOT being listened to !

Some of these ideas seem like common sense or what ‘should’ be done. But many times they are not. This includes being aware of body language – look at the person who is talking.  Nod your head and repeat back what they are saying.  Don’t look down, away, or at something else for the duration the person is talking. Take notes.  And most importantly, when you walk away, make sure you got the gist of what was said, by going and doing what was asked, shared, directed, etc. Non-action is the best indicator that a person is not listening.  There must be action, change, demonstration for the listening to be of value to both parties.  A person will feel valued and respected if they feel listened to.

To become a better listener ask a close friend or colleague to allow you to listen to what he/she says, and to repeat back, not just the words, but the request (spoken or not).  Ask if you are getting it right, and if not, keep practicing.  Notice the actual words that are being used by the speaker, as that is a good indicator/barometer of the intent of their message.  Set aside devoted time to be present to listen to someone else’s concerns.  Doing this on a daily basis with at least one person will increase your listening skills.

If you need help contact Hooko LLC at 808-375-7712 or online at