Do you hear or listen? Really listen? There is a difference ...

By MRyan | Lifecanbecrazy | 8 Feb 2023

What is the difference?   Being a mindful listener is the difference.  With so many distractions in our lives, it’s easy to try to multitask while talking to someone. That’s where mindful listening comes into play.

Mindful listening is when you give your full and undivided attention to someone who is speaking to you.  You are not looking at your phone, watching T.V. pecking at a keyboard on a desktop or laptop.

When you are multi-tasking during a conversation you may hear the other person speaking, but you are not listening.  Actually, focusing on the person who is talking is listening. 

It’s not always the words being spoken that share meaning and content it’s the way they are said.  Facial expressions, tone of voice, raised eyebrows.  All the little gestures and nuances you miss when you are multi-tasking, simply hearing, not listening.

I’m guilty of this myself many times.  I’ve decided I am going to try and be more aware and listen to people when they are talking to me.  Try it for yourself, be aware of how present you are in the conversation.

When people feel like their words are going in one ear and out the other all the time eventually they stop coming to talk to you.  This could be a coworker, significant other, your child, anyone …

This practice can be difficult at first, especially if you’re prone to interrupting with questions or offering advice. By allowing others to finish their thoughts, you give them a chance to fully share what they need to and hopefully allow them to get their thoughts across.

It can take some practice to listen without interruption. To show you’re listening, it’s helpful to nod, smile, make eye contact, and encourage the person to continue speaking. Listening is one of the most important soft skills that we can use and it doesn’t cost anything but time.  If a person is worth talking to they are worth your time to listen.


A few tips on practicing mindful listening:

  • Stop - Whatever you’re doing, make it a point to stop and fully put your attention on the speaker. This shows you are ready to engage in conversation.
  • Take a breather - Whether you’re having a positive or negative conversation, take a breath. This gives you a moment to regain your thoughts and take a moment during the conversation.
  • Make eye contact - Eye contact shows that you’re listening and interested in what someone has to say. Maintain it throughout your conversation as much as possible.

  • Be patient -It can be hard not to interrupt if you have a pressing question or point to ask. See if you can hold your question until they’re done speaking or write down the question if it will distract you from actively listening.

  • Turn your body toward the speaker - Body language is everything in conversations with others. Show respect by stepping away from your computer, phone, or any other distraction and turn your body toward whoever is speaking.

  • Remove distractions - That might mean taking out earbuds or headphones or putting a phone on silent.

  • Ask strategic and thoughtful questions - Open-ended questions — ones that don’t just have a yes or no answer — are a great way to show the speaker you are interested and engaged in what they’re saying.

  • Reflect back -Want to make sure you really understand what’s being said? Repeat back what you heard. This can sound like, “So what I hear you saying is…” or “Do I have this right, you feel…”

In our distracting world, it’s easy to feel as though you can’t listen to long-winded monologues. The above tips can help with that feeling when your thoughts are competing for attention. Listening actively takes effort, but it can be done and improve your relationships with people you come in contact with in your life along the way.  

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I'm an author with 5 books published @ Amazon. Look for Cocktail Mixology, ** When I count my blessing, ** Obedience training & first aid for your dog, ** Job Interview Tips; Ace your Interview ** Check out my books, by Marilyn Ryan


Life can be crazy at times. I am planning to write about random topics here. Hopefully you will find them engaging enough to keep checking back on my blog to see what else I have added. I have 4 books for sale on Amazon ( Author look up on Amazon= Marilyn Ryan ), they are also random topics. ( Dog training & first aid ) ( Prayer Journal) ( Cocktail Mocktail drink recipe book) (Job interview tricks to help ace your interview) Restful reading to you! Best regards, ~ MRyan

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