Why People Don't Listen

Why People Don’t Listen

Why Don’t People Listen

Why are conversations confusing? Is it due to the Listener?

Have you ever had the experience of walking away from a conversation with a friend or co-worker saying to yourself “I have no idea what they were talking about?” Did you try to then work it out or just assume that the other person was not clear?

If you have had that experience then would you expect others to have had that experience with you, feeling confused about what you were talking about?

When this type of experience occurs and you walk away confused, who was responsible for causing the confusion?  I ask this to see whether you make judgments about yourself or others.  If you said you were at responsibility then you are partially correct. If you said the other person’s responsibility, then you are also partially correct.  The fact is both of you are responsible and I will explain why shortly.

Conversation is two way communication. Otherwise you are in a situation where you are just informing or commanding another person or persons. It is important in this type of communication that both parties work as listeners and as speakers for this to be effective.

As a listener you are expected to listen. Think about the previous example and were you listening? Were you really listening? So what is listening?  Listening in conversation is:

  • Being aware of what the other person is saying.
  • Trying to make sense of it for you.
  • Being aware of what you do not understand.
  • Remembering what is said.

Notice what I left out; what listening is not:

  • Working out what you will respond with.
  • Getting involved in your own thoughts.
  • Going into and expanding your stories.

You have heard about the person who was telling everyone about catching a small fish and by the time he had told the tenth person, he had finished up catching a massive shark because he got caught up in his story and he kept building on it.

If you really listen to the other person you will discover at that moment, whether the conversation has been confusing or not. If it is confusing, you can ask the person to clarify.  You are responsible for making sure you ask for clarity if you do not understand.

To help give more of an explanation about listening, please click Listening to discover more about how to improve your listening skills.

Have a great day achieving your success.


David Donahoo

Communication Coach, NLP Trainer, Hypnotherapist

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