How to Listen Well to Others

A listening ear for others


I am always appreciative when something complimentary is said about me. On occasion I have been graciously referred to as intelligent, sensitive, and creative. (I confess I’ve been called less flattering things, as well.) One of the nicest compliments anyone has ever paid me was to say I listen well. This might not rate with being called sexy or successful, but I thought it was a wonderful thing to say.

From an early age I have been a “listening ear” for troubled friends and acquaintances—a role I am honored to fulfill. I have been told I am a source of comfort and reason. In the workplace I have often mediated disputes between management and staff or listened to their concerns. People who don’t even know me well will ask to meet me for dinner or a drink and end up pouring their heart out to me. They are sometimes surprised, wondering to themselves what made them confide in me with such candor. I realize there is something inside them they are struggling to express and if it can’t get out, they feel as if they will burst. I understand this and listen to them.

What makes some people better listeners than others? How can we learn to listen to others with our complete attention? There are some things we can always do to listen well—and there are also some things to avoid.


Listening attentively benefits everyone

A most important question
A most important question
Turn off your phone, shut down the music and listen
Turn off your phone, shut down the music and listen
This person might say he's willing to listen, but his body language suggests otherwise
This person might say he's willing to listen, but his body language suggests otherwise
Listening well is a wonderful gift
Listening well is a wonderful gift
Listening attentively might bring emotions to the surface
Listening attentively might bring emotions to the surface
Most of us are grateful to have someone willing to listen
Most of us are grateful to have someone willing to listen
Listening with full attention benefits us all
Listening with full attention benefits us all

Twelve recommendations for listening well


1. Listen with interest and full attention. Kill the music. Turn off your television, telephone or computer. All of these things are distractions. Whether you devote five minutes or two hours to listening to someone, don’t do it half-heartedly. The message your undivided attention conveys is that what is being said is important.

2. Remain content to listen. Listening well might mean waiting until someone has completely finished speaking before it is your “turn”. If you are always thinking about what you are going to say next, you’re not really listening. Avoid having your next comment ready or rushing to fill a silence. It is okay to have your thoughts remain unexpressed.

3. Ask questions and repeat what you hear. Asking questions offers reassurance of your interest. Questions also ensure you correctly understand someone. If you do not grasp what someone is saying, they will quickly shut down. Open-ended questions encourage the other person to continue speaking while facilitating your comprehension. Paraphrasing also helps clarify what someone is saying and keep the conversation focused.  

4. Show courtesy in your posture and actions. Maintain eye contact without staring. Stand or sit with an open or inviting posture. Do not scowl, frown, fold your arms across your chest, tap your fingers or toes, check your watch or demonstrate other signs of impatience. If you say you are interested but your actions suggest otherwise, it is the nonverbal cues that will be believed.

5. Show courtesy in words and tone of voice. Speak in calm, relaxed tones that convey interest. Choose words that are not judgmental or flippant. It takes great trust to confide in you, and that trust will be forfeited if you feel the need to criticize. Listening well does not mean making a point or proving you are right. Do not betray someone’s trust with arguing, sarcasm or doubt.

6. Allow emotions to flow freely. When someone is telling you something important, it will frequently cause them to shout, cry, shake or laugh spontaneously. Don’t interrupt them if they express themselves in this way—allow them to feel their emotions without reservation or shame. Experiencing the emotions surrounding what they say is important and beneficial.

7. Do not react emotionally. The only correct response toward someone else’s problems is interest and concern. Indifference or boredom on your part will quickly make someone shut down. Hostility or other emotional responses will cause the other person to believe they have upset you. Don’t let someone else’s troubles bother you.

8. Do not offer suggestions or advice. Answers are no good unless they come from the person you are listening to. Even if someone asks for answers to their problems, they will be better served finding their own solutions (you may be blamed if you offer someone failed or incorrect advice—even if you are well-intentioned).

9. Do not talk about yourself. Do not equate what you hear with your own experiences—it will be perceived as minimizing someone else’s concerns or, perhaps worse, embracing an “I can top that” attitude. If someone is confiding in you on a deeply personal level, recognize that the conversation is about them—not you.

10. Interrupt patterns. Vindictive or hate-filled tirades may offer clues to someone’s feelings or problems, but they should not be encouraged or validated. Listening well doesn’t include suffering another’s hatred or bigotry. Mean or hateful statements may be an effort to reach underlying feelings. Ask questions to interrupt spiteful or malicious comments and get to the real issues.

11. Offer validations. Everyone has been hurt in situations where they have been ridiculed or belittled, and many people have endured this to the extent they will invalidate themselves. It is important to separate the person from the problem and demonstrate that you respect them, regardless of what their problems might be.

12. Draw attention outward when the conversation has ended. If you have listened to an outpouring of deeply-held feelings and emotions, bring the conversation to a lighter level before concluding it. Briefly talk about the weather, movies or anything that will draw attention away from negative thoughts and feelings and allow the other person to leave on a positive note.



A wonderful gift


People are always hoping someone will see something in them others don’t see, or help them to understand their hidden self. There is only one way to accomplish this, and that is by really listening to them. Listening well is one of the greatest gifts we can offer. Whenever we can do this for someone, we should.

I sometimes meet men or women who come to me and ask to talk. Perhaps I can tell from their voice that something is the matter. I may hear a story of suffering, or they might just come and sit with me—knowing I will listen is sometimes enough to find comfort. They are appreciative for someone to listen to them, but I am grateful as well—for the trust they give.

Thank you for listening.


Comments 64 comments

jeanie.stecher profile image

jeanie.stecher 6 years ago from Seattle

Yeah right. In order for us to communicate effectively, we have to be able to hear what the other person is saying. Because when you are not listening you are not learning. And when you are not learning, you are neglecting the opportunity. That is why listening is vital.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba

I am going to give this hub to my wife to read.. lol


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

You have that 100 illusive score. Congrats. I gave you a thumbs up! Now- what was this hub about?


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Jeanie, thanks for reading. You're right, listening well is the basis for effective communication. Without it, we not only won't learn, we lose the ability to help someone else. Thanks for your insights, I appreciate it.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

LeanMan, by all means send her by (lol). And, thanks for stopping by yourself. Have a great weekend.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Micky, thanks for reading. The 100 score is nice, I have to admit. As to your other comments... what did you say again? Have a fine weekend, my friend.

Mike


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

I admire your high score, you always deserve it and friends will keep you there, I think I still don't know a clue as to how to raise my score although I got to 96 once, but I just love being here but will be pulled pretty thin in a few weeks being three people writing, lol (amillar) I have to do him that way awhile. I was always a good listener but the thing was it was mostly older people talking to this child and I found it of great interest, I always loved stories that were true and even talked to a real previous slave, well listened. We were in the hospital together when I was a teen,she was very old, we hit it off instantly but they took her away from me and she wanted to tell me so much, I will forever wonder what she might have told me. She died before I left they said and she thought it was something awful for me to do things for her and get her extra blankets when she was cold, afraid I would get in trouble, But anyway many others have confessed sins, you name it, I must look like a Nun, lol.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Thank you, Mike, for this list of excellent strategies to use to become a better, more "active" listener. I would add one more. In addition to asking questions, paraphrase what you hear when it might otherwise be misunderstood. Example: "I think I hear you saying that ..."

This strong encouragement shows the other person you really are listening. But be prepared for more conversation! :)


tom hellert profile image

tom hellert 6 years ago from home

ML,

i am sorry could you repeat that....haha

My problem has always been u tend to talk to much-As such i need to try to get to learn more from listening than talking- It probably stems from being the youngest of 3 - there i go again-I agree that sometimmes the best way to listen is by asking good questions-you have tpo be engaged with the conversation to do that-

Well done Cap'n Mike

TH


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Terrific hub. We all probably could use a little refresher course in listening well. Thanks! I think I may react too emotionally to the content of what the person is saying when I listen. I overreact.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Polly, I think you have a very understanding and compassionate nature which makes it natural for people to choose you to talk about themselves with. I suspect you have listened well from an early age, and you learned from a wide variety of people. The hospital story sounds incredible and you could probably write a hub about it if you wanted to.

The hub author score? I don't have the slightest idea how I rated the high score, but I think it does help me find readers who might not bother otherwise. I also try to rotate four or five subjects consistently to hopefully attract a wide range of people. Does anything I do really matter regarding the score? Well, I have no idea, really...........

I appreciate your stopping by, as always. I always respect and enjoy your opinions, and hope you will come back any time.

Thanks.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

drbj, thanks for reading. Paraphrasing is important and I can't believe I left that out. I appreciate your reminder. And, yes, you are absolutely correct--when someone becomes a listening ear, they will certainly find people willing to talk to them many times.

Thanks again, I appreciate it.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Tom, thanks for your comments. Speaking when someone needs you to listen is usually counterproductive, but asking questions to learn certainly isn't. A situation will dictate what is most appropriate, but when someone really needs to unburden themselves, it is best to just listen.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Paradise, thanks for your comments. I am an emotional guy and sometimes I get too involved in the other person's problems, also. It takes practice to stay detached and non-judgmental.

I also found that as I wrote more online content, my listening skills diminished. It was almost as if expressing my opinion in writing flipped the switch inside my brain that makes me believe everyone needs to hear (or read) my opinion, and I had to remind myself to take a step back and hear what someone else was saying. So, this hub was as much for me as it was for public consumption. I felt I needed the reminder.

Thanks so much for reading--I am always appreciative.

Mike


coffeesnob 6 years ago

Mike,

I am not surprised that you are a good listener. I think this somehow comes through in your hubs and in your responses to other hubs. People who are good listeners think outside of themselves and have an uncanny ability to make others feel loved and accepted. Great advice. I have a bit of a hard time not getting emotional...I tend to feel people's hurts...but I am a very sensitive woman too :-)

Great hub rated up, useful and beautiful


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

CS, thanks for reading and for your kind words. I must admit it is easy for me to get caught up in someone else's feelings--staying detached is difficult for me sometimes because I am an emotional guy. Thanks again for your kindness, and for the rating. Hope your weekend is great (getting ready to storm here....).

Mike


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 6 years ago from Philippines

Thank you for your wonderful advice on the art of listening.Now if you can just teach me how to apply it with the habitual complainer, the neighborhood gossip and the nagging wife I will be much obliged.:)


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

SilentReed, thanks for reading. You will find people who will abuse your generous nature and force you to listen to trivial matters. How do you deal with a gossip or complainer? Put a clock on them. Let them say whatever they want for a specified period of time. When the time is up, you leave. You give them exactly what they want, but only for short periods. You will still have to deal with it, but it won't be as satisfying for them and it will abate. Good luck, and thanks for stopping by.

Mike


SamanthaSam profile image

SamanthaSam 6 years ago

Great!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thank you, Samantha Sam. I appreciate your stopping by and reading my work. Come back any time.

Mike


Allan Douglas profile image

Allan Douglas 6 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Another excellent hub Mike. Great advice, some of the points are very hard for some (like me) to follow - particularly the tendency to offer advice or inject personal examples. You are completely correct though and I'm getting better at those. I do find that the deeper the others problem, the fewer words are required from me.


Tusitala Tom profile image

Tusitala Tom 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

An excellent and compelling piece on the art of being a good listener. One wonders if you're a counsellor, psychologist or even psychiatrist; you certainly appear to have the gifts.

Mike, you made a few typos/grammatical errors in the opening, which detracted from the perfection of a splendid Hub. Just a minor thing, but every bit of feedback helps, I guess. The rest was great.

I particulary like "Answers are useless unless they come from the person you're listening to." (i.e. evoking an answer in their mind to their problem and letting them enuciate it - terrific!)

Well done, Mike.


prey profile image

prey 6 years ago from places you should hope we never meet

Hi Mike

For me, this is a truly brilliant hub! Why do some listen to others and some do not? I believe for the sole reason of how compassionate someone is. From their stems an actual true interest in someone else and what they have to say. In that compassion, or belief, I think we become out of self and care to listen, genuinely. So few people do I find. But more than not do.

It is not a talent, as it is not something that can be learned. The pure desire to know, and make someone else feel important, without patronizing, is the one component that brings us together.

Imagine Mike, if we all listened (not heard) to another, and clear communication was respected shared and encouraged? Well, I'm a dreamer, always will be and am so proud to say I listen to many others would never, I am so fortunate to learn from their words, and always enjoy the look of relief almost when they are done.

Mike, you know who everyone should take one day of their life and listen to? An elderly person, silenced in a nursing home. The wisdom, history, knowledge, laughter and surprisingly the topics are priceless. W forget about our elderly. Breaks my heart. Not all of us certainly, but too many. I've babbled enough now. Thank you for a more important topic than I think you even know.

Mike? Mike, Mike? Are you listening to me? geez

love kim, I know orey, who by the way, never listens


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Allan, thanks for your comments. I agree that the deeper someone's distresses are, the less there is that needs to be said--sometimes by either person. In those situations, all that is often required is to create an atmosphere or environment safe enough for the distressed person to feel their feelings completely. That can sometimes take very few words.

Everyone feels compelled to offer suggestions at some point, especially if we think our advice will really make a difference. Usually when someone needs to talk or vent, however, they're not ready to take advice and act on it. At times, that even makes the listener indignant--an "I told you what you should do, what's the problem?" attitude. That is another reason why it is best to leave advice out of the equation when trying to listen well.

Thanks again for reading, I greatly appreciate it. Have a good Sunday.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Tusitala Tom, thanks for your comments. I would like to first say thank you for pointing out the typos in the first few paragraphs. Editing is something I have done professionally, and I couldn't believe it when I went back and saw for myself what you noticed. I will blame it on working in the middle of the night when insomnia struck. Thank you so much for pointing it out! It is greatly appreciated.

I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, but thanks for suggesting that I might have what it takes to succeed in those fields. In the past I have worked as a counselor and was taught how to listen. I have used the skills I learned there in a variety of settings, and find them extremely helpful. People skills are always a plus.

I appreciate your stopping by, and thanks again for noting the typos. I will definitely tighten the first paragraph. Have a great Sunday.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi, Prey (Kim)! Thanks for reading. I'm always happy to see that you have stopped by and left a comment. I agree with you 100%-- listening well starts with compassion. If someone is genuinely interested in people, they will listen. The folks that make a grand show of dispensing "advice" do not. It's all about themselves. And, there are people whose voices are never heard that could reveal so much if we were only willing to listen--the elderly is a great example.

How often do we find someone has a venue for their opinions entirely because of their beauty? We listen to people we find physically attractive. I saw a newspaper article once that read, "Angelina Jolie criticizes Obama." Huh? Why is that news? Is it because she is beautiful? Is it because she is rich? Is it because she has adopted a bunch of kids? Why is what Angelina Jolie says news, and why should we care if she is critical of Obama? It is because we listen to people for the wrong reasons.

There is a little boy in my parents' neighborhood who likes to stop by and visit them. My father and mother are 91 and 81, respectively, and this boy is 12. He will sit in their living room and ask my father how he's doing, and he will tell them about school. He has a respect for the elderly that is wonderful to see, and they are always thrilled when he visits. It is in a small way an example of what you're describing--he found that visiting my parents was interesting and entertaining, and he looks forward to it. He gets nothing out of it except perhaps a snack or a game of Chinese checkers.

Kim, your willingness to listen is apparent, and it is just one of the things I greatly admire in you. I share your dream of a world where everyone is listened to for the right reasons. I would love to see the day when we are all respected for our knowledge and insights. Those are the moments I wish for and hope I live to see.

Thanks so much for your insights--they ring so true. Have a wonderful Sunday.

Mike


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

I read with great interest. I learned to "active listen" while I was an Assistant Principal in High School... Thanks for sharing your listening skill. It is an art; one I continue to improve doing... Thanks for the "refresher course."


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

It does not surprise me at all that you would be a great listener, Mike. Your hubs and comments show that you have compassion and intelligence and talent. People would naturally be drawn to people like you to share their stories and concerns with. For anyone reading this who is NOT a good listener...Mike has pretty well laid it all out as a good primer. Rating this useful and up! Excellent job!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Dallas, thanks for reading. If you were an Assistant Principal for a high school, then you certainly got more than your share of active listening along the way. If my article meets with your approval, I know I did okay. Thanks again.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Peggy, thanks for stopping by. I greatly appreciate your kind words and your testimonial. I am humbled and grateful for your opinion of my work, and my character. Thank you so very much.

Mike


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Thank you, Mike, for such insightful information. Listening well and paying attention is the basis of a good friendship or relationship of any kind.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Phyllis, thanks for your comments. You are absolutely correct, listening is the basis of any type of relationship. Without the ability to listen, there is no true communication.

Thanks again for your comments. I hope you have a great week.

Mike


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Mike I have been a listener all my life, I have friends who would come to me to be heard. Your right about giving your full focus and attention to the matter at hand. I turn off any t.v. or radio for total silence in order for that person to pour it all out.

I found using eye contact at all times to be important. Stay focused on the subject and listen intently.A person feels so much more comfortable when they have a listening ear. Great hub Mike, really enjoyed it. I read it right through without the slightest interuption:0)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

We are not all born with the talent to listen. But we can learn the technique and practice it. Thanks for this advice. I’ve bookmarked this, for although people like to confide in me, I tend to talk too much, so I need to read this frequently. Thanks again!


H.C Porter profile image

H.C Porter 6 years ago from Lone Star State

Great Hub! So many needs to learn to listen. I specially like the second tip when you said that you must wait until someone is completely finished before it is your turn-and if you are always thinking about what you are going to say when "listening" you are not really listening. This is why fighting never ends well-when people fight we become defensive and stop listening moments after the fight begins. To listen during a fight or conversation which involves conflict or difference in opinion or perception, it’s a good idea to remain calm and focus on the words while listening- not always what we perceive to be the intent of the words (which is usually what flips the switch to our anger). When the person we are having a conversation with finishes, then take a moment to rethink what has been said as a whole before and then react/respond.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Saddlerider, thanks for your insights. You clearly have the skills required to be a listening ear for anyone--you have demonstrated that many times on HubPages with your thoughtful comments. I agree that eye contact is essential to demonstrate interest and focus attention on the person speaking. Care must be taken not to stare, however. I will sometimes gaze at someone's forehead or even their teeth for brief moments to keep the eye-to-eye contact from becoming uncomfortable. I will never look down or away, however.

It is extremely important for anyone to have someone they can confide in. If we can be that person, we should try to be. I have no doubt you have been a listening ear for many folks, and they are lucky to have you in their lives. Thanks so much for reading, my friend. Take care.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Martie Coetser, thanks for stopping by. It takes focus and discipline to listen well to someone, and many people just cannot seem to do it. I think everyone has the capacity but not necessarily the practice necessary to listen well. It was something I learned over time. By the way, I can tend to talk too much, also.....

Thanks again for reading, and I am grateful that this article meant something positive for you. Take care.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

HC, thanks so much for your insights. You are so correct in your comments about what goes wrong during an argument. When we are arguing with someone, we are vulnerable and defensive. We do not wish to listen to someone else who is disagreeing with us, and usually we are not listening--we are thinking of what we will say next. It is best to remain calm when arguing if we can, as you suggest; we can set aside our emotions and deal with them later if we must. If people on both sides of an argument could hear clearly what the other person was saying, a lot of arguments would simply go away.

It is difficult to do, but I have allowed someone I disagreed with to speak without interruption on the condition I am allowed to do the same. The two people simply take turns. If both parties have a chance to state their argument and another to respond to what the other says, that cleans up some disagreements. Arguments are difficult, however, and sometimes nothing helps much. If we can always listen, however, we will be better off.

Thanks again for your opinions and insights, i appreciate them a great deal--as always. Take care.

Mike


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Hi Mike! It is high praise, indeed, to be complimented as a good listener! It seems to be a lost, or at least dying, art.

You've given some excellent tips for listening under many different scenarios. Often it's most difficult when the speaker is emotionally distraught or ranting/raving.Also like the idea of repeating back what you've heard. So simple, but so effective.

And holding back the advice -- ooh, that one's sooo tough!

Thanks for such useful tips. I have many, many friends (and a few key relations:-)who will be receiving links to this hub in their email inbox:-)! MM


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

Hello Mike - I saw you striking a pose on the Homepage lol and it's nice to see you at 100 too.

This is such a lovely Hub that I will definitely bookmark and share with others. I've learnt a lot from it. However, Mike in no 7 - I'm puzzled. If someone shares bad news or problems they have, I can't help reacting and feeling sorry for them and it does come across emotionally. I Quote: "Don’t let someone else’s troubles bother you." So its now a case of being concerned without showing emotion. This one's got me pondering. How do I do that? Anyway, glad you brought it up.

The Tips are excellent.

Best Wishes, E.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Mighty Mom, thanks for reading. Y'know, I was much better at refraining from giving advice when I was younger than I am now. I have to sometimes remind myself to just listen. It is easier said than done. I wrote this to some degree to remind myself of what one should do to listen well.

I am glad you found something useful in this, and it is gratifying to hear you say you will let people know about my hub. I appreciate it greatly. Thanks again for stopping by, and take care.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi, Elena. It is always odd to see myself on the home page or on the first page of hubbers. As I have said before, I tend to view myself as more or less invisible, and it always takes me a bit by surprise to find that someone noticed what I have said or done. It is nice, to be sure--but always a surprise.

How to show concern without reacting emotionally? When you show interest by listening actively and unconditional support by not being judgmental, you will show you care without an emotional response. It isn't always easy to do, because our first response to what we hear is often an emotional one. If we stay in control and continue to be there for the other person, however, we will demonstrate our concern for their well-being.

Well, thanks so much for stopping by--I always appreciate it. Take care.

Mike


cooperfsu profile image

cooperfsu 6 years ago from Valencia, Spain

I have always been a good listener. Thanks for they tips.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

cooperfsu, thanks for reading. I appreciate your stopping by. The ability to listen well is extremely important, and I am sure you are a comfort to the people in your life. Thanks again.

Mike


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

yes all great points and teh aska question I never really thought of. but it's good one.


promomanagers profile image

promomanagers 6 years ago from Massachusetts

Listening is probably the most important tool we all have in our respective arsenals but so few do it effectively.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Rebecca, thanks for reading. Questions are important to focus attention and ensure understanding. On a most basic level, they allow us to engage someone without talking about ourselves.

Thanks again for reading, I always appreciate your stopping by.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Promomanagers, thanks for stopping by. I agree that very few people know how to listen well, and it is one of the most important things we can possibly do for someone else. Hopefully these ideas can prove useful to someone. Thanks again.

Mike


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

I love it.. once again Mike, you say what you mean and you mean what you say. I think all of us have failed to listen a time or two in our lives, sometimes I have.

You're so right about the body language and knowing how to look for that in people can be so helpful in ones life. Awesome story.. A++ again Mike.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Susan, thanks for stopping by. I'm sure we are all guilty at one time or another of failing to listen--I know I certainly am. It is something we can practice, however, and I am trying to re-learn my listening skills. At one point I had "active listening training," but that was long ago. I hope I can get back to where I was.

Susan, thank you so much for your kind words. I am truly appreciative. Take care.

Mike


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Mike, this is a beautiful hub, and you know what listening is sexy hehe. It is always encouraging when others like you are good listener. Congrats BTW, your author score is 100 HOORAY! Maita


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Maita, thanks for stopping by. If listening is sexy, then I'm going to do my best to listen (I can use whatever help I can get). I take pride in being a good listener, and I hope that it matters to folks. I think it does.

Thank you for the kind words and for noticing the 100. I admit to being proud of it. BTW, I like your new avatar photo. Very nice. Thanks again for your kind words, and stop by any time.

Mike


bunnypoeta profile image

bunnypoeta 6 years ago from I Am Here; There; Over There; Out There & Elsewhere - Portugal

It seems that you are well known here and it seems also that you are also appreciated here and that only make me see that you arent only a god listener, you are also a good talker. i write at experienceproject and now here due a freinds request and i would love a little help from someone who knows what he is doing in the art of exposing is thoughts to the public in general. I am trying to help people in experienceproject as well as here, but, if along the way someone would be interested in wanting to bet in me as a publisher i would also be glad. this is only my first steps in this goal that wasnt any time my first goal in life, but, we cannot reject all the possibilities in life and i am simply goging with the flow and if she puts me in a place that i can bee seen by any interested publisher, i will have to stop the boat and see if both as a bond and if not, the rivers of my own beliefs, will make me circle the world once more. i would love any advice from you in this goal that i sense and smell even so far, but, its more reality than ever for me and i always love an advice from someone who knows what he does !!! thanks for your attention and keep up, people needs always a good advice.

Take care !!!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Bunnypoeta, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your kind words about my writing a great deal. If I were to give anyone advice on writing well, it would be to find your own voice. This will come primarily from writing about topics you are interested, knowledgeable and passionate about. When you write about what you know and love, your knowledge and appreciation of the topic will shine through. If you are writing about something you are not as familiar with, it will also show.

I have tried to build an online presence based upon respect, courtesy and tolerance. There are others more vocal than I am, but I always intend to be seen as thoughtful and compassionate. Only others can tell me if I have succeeded, but that is what I strive for.

I don't know if anything I have said here has been helpful, but I'm sure you will do well as a writer. Thanks again for stopping by, I appreciate your questions and comments. Take care.

Mike


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

WOW Mike what a profound truth I'm especially impressed with how you ended on, People are always hoping someone will see something in them others don’t see, or help them to understand their hidden self. I feel people try so hard to be heard as they have an intense need as you outlined here, that they often fail to be good listeners due to their drive to be heard. It takes listening to be heard. What a wonderful article, I enjoyed how to listen well to others very much and will have my two girls read this...

Katie


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Katie, I truly appreciate your comments. I really believe we are all looking for someone who will listen to us and get a tiny peek into our hearts. As you state, we have an intense need to be heard. If we can do this for someone, we should. I am flattered that what I have written is something you would recommend for your daughters to read. Thanks so much.

Mike


pmccray profile image

pmccray 5 years ago from Utah

Great subject matter. Listening is truly an art and one must develop "listening skills". Unfortunately, being a good listen can burden the listener down at inopportune times selfishly swallowing up the listeners day.

But, it is a necessary evil, we all need to be more helpful to our fellow man, and listening is a great way to start.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Pmccray, thanks for stopping by. You're correct, there are burdens to listening well. I've told people we have twenty minutes to talk, or whatever the time I had to spare actually was. I don't clock watch, but I have made it clear on occasion that I don't have a lot of time. Usually people have respected this if I am firm about it.

Having said that, you are correct--when we can be helpful to others by listening, we should do it. It's the right thing to do for each other.

Thanks again for stopping by. Take care.

Mike


karma. 5 years ago

Listening is one of life's gifts I feel. When I listen instead of hear I do inevitably learn. Listening is not just a kind or courteous obligation, but is be an act of truth by caring what someone says, In this contribution to communication we are actually stepping outside ourselves. or becoming selfless and more so, open.

I do love your beauty in this hub, Stumbling here was no coincidence. And openly listening to you through written words is a pleasure and through this I try to offer my thank you to me I remember goodness

I see good here, Nice message Mike, I was lead here, I am blessed,

Thank you

May people always be listening here, to receive your gift, give you the kindness you give them, I smile.

JJ


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Karma, thank you for stopping by and reading. Listening is indeed one of life's gifts, even though most people have never developed the skills to listen properly to others. You are absolutely correct, listening is an act of truth and caring. When we actually decide to listen to someone, our attention is outside ourselves and we become (as you suggest) selfless and open.

I appreciate very much your kind words about my writing and thank you for your thoughts and insights. I am humbled and grateful. Thank you so much.

Mike


TheToddMan profile image

TheToddMan 5 years ago from Wichita, KS

Awesome hub fellow Kansan!

This is a very comprehensive hub on active listening. Listening is really seeking to understand someone. The thing we have to remember is just because we listen and understand doesn't mean we agree - and that's ok.

Some folks feel like if they show understanding for someone else's point of view, they are agreeing with them so they shy away or they're insincere.

Steven R. Covey says "Seek to understand, then to be understood." I've been taught, "Seek to understand, then understand some more." I often find when I do this well, I don't even need to be understood.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

ToddMan, thanks for your comments. I like your variation on Covey's thoughts, and it is something more people should try to do.

Thanks again.

Mike


MarieAlice profile image

MarieAlice 4 years ago from Peru

thanks for sharing this hub... listening is not always easy...


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thanks, MarieAlice. Listening is a skill not everyone possesses. The good listeners are always well-liked because everyone wants to be listened to.

Thanks again. I appreciate your reading, and your comments.

Mike

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