No one is listening


Jay Dolan

Seniors Jay Dolan and Gavriel Helm have a conversation but one of them is having a hard time listening.

No one is listening to you. And you aren’t listening to anyone. When talking to your friend, relative or special someone how likely is it for you to be fully engaged with what is being spoken to you? If you are like most people, chances are low. According to a study, many people spend 70% to 80% of their time awake in some form of communication. Of that time, we spend 45% of it listening. With such a large portion of our day utilized for listening, why are we so inefficient at it?

People do not know how to listen. Whether being distracted from a large to-do list or your buzzing phone, listening is getting harder. But there are ways to get better, keep in mind it does take practice. Here are some techniques to make you a more effective listener.

Be engaged
When listening keep an upright posture and keep your eyes fixed on the orator. Nod along to the conversation and keep it flowing. Relax your gaze though, do not overdo your attentiveness or you will make the speaker uncomfortable. Do not think of anything except what is being said.

Put the phone down
This should be common knowledge. When someone is talking to you, you should not have your phone out and should be attentive to what your counterpart is saying. When you are on your phone, your mind wanders off. Humans are not as good of multitaskers as we think. In fact, the number of people who are effective is about 10 percent of the population. So put the phone down and pay attention.

Ask open-ended questions
Ask questions that do not require answers that are either yes or no. That way the conversation is longer and you have more to learn about the other person. Instead of asking a person who likes basketball, “Do you like basketball?” ask them “What is your favorite thing about basketball?” or “What is your least favorite thing about basketball?”

Try to picture what the speaker is saying
Build a mental image of what is being spoken to you. Almost like the words are forming a movie in your head. Except for this movie, the director is the speaker and the producer is you. But for this movie do not rehearse what you are going to say next, instead quietly listen.