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  • Writer's pictureHouria Bellatif

What kind of listener are you?

We spend about 45% of our time listening to family, friends, or colleagues. We immerse ourselves in their world by listening to their stories, cultivating connections, and improving our relationships.

Listening is an essential part of our lives, and yet, in 75% of our listening moments, we are distracted, forgetful, and consumed by our own thoughts?

One scientific explanation is the significant pace difference between speaking and listening. Most of us speak at a rate of 125 words per minute, while the listener can process about 400 words per minute. This gap allows our brain to shift from thinking to doing, focusing on our contributions and ignoring the actual conversation.

How do we grow from “listening to reply” to “listening to understand?”

Below are some practices to enhance our aural abilities and encourage us to be present, in the moment:

  • Avoid multitasking. Most can relate to the frustration when we are on the receiving end of distractions.

  • Go in with openness and no judgment. It creates trust and mutual respect.

  • Why Am I Talking? Asking ourselves that question is a good reminder of our intention.

  • Ask open-ended questions is a great way to show engagement.

  • Paraphrasing the main idea of what we heard shows we are truly listening.

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