A few days ago, via LinkedIn Today, I read this article:

Want to Be Happier? Stop Doing These 10 Things Right Now

It contained something that resonated with me a lot. Something I can be guilty of via Passive Listening:

Interrupting

Interrupting isn’t just rude. When you interrupt someone, what you’re really saying is, “I’m not listening to you so I can understand what you’re saying; I’m listening to you so I can decide what I want to say.”

Want people to like you? Listen to what they say. Focus on what they say. Ask questions to make sure you understand what they say. They’ll love you for it—and you’ll love how that makes you feel.

Interrupting is rude. But so is pretending to listen so that you can make your next point when your colleague pauses for breath.

In Business, and especially in IT, we deal with many different people on a daily basis.  Sometimes you’ll be exchanging opinions with a colleague on a subject. In this kind of situation, being a good listener is critical. If you listen purely so that you can find a point to interrupt and add your own opinion, you’re kind of defeating the point of communicating: to understand requirements, discover different ways of looking at things, and ultimately learn.

The next time you’re sharing opinions or discussing a hot topic, keep a mental tab on whether you’re truly listening, or simply pretending to listen so that you can make your next point without seeming rude.

I quite like this guide on Passive/Active listening, and listening well: The Power of Listening

I’m going to give this a shot, and try to be a better listener 🙂

Written by Phil Wiffen

Phil is an IT Professional working in Cambridge, England. He generally blogs about useful solutions that he comes across in his work/play.

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