The Difference Between Hearing and Listening

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Ali Soleymaniha author of Embrace Happiness: The Art of Conflict Management is an expert in conflict management. Over the course of a decade, he’s watched people completely miss out on a key component of strong communication and more fulfilling relationships: Effective listening.

ERT456Most people think they have a handle on it. They think they know the difference between what they thought they heard their partners say, and effectively listening to them.

Soleymaniha’s book, “Embrace Happiness: The Art of Conflict Management,” makes clear that to communicate well, couples must pay attention to the three distinctive parts of sharing and understanding each other:

  • vocal information
  • visual information
  • tactile information

Vocal information is discussed as part of listening, and the following two categories as part of observation.

Listening and hearing are very different. Hearing is a bodily function of the ears and the receipt of sound waves; whereas, listening only occurs when those sound waves become meaningful in the brain. When comprehension, reasoning and thoughtful consideration happens. Listening is deliberate.

As the author puts it, “the more you understand, the more effective the listening process has been.”

Soleymaniha points out that for listening to be most effective, concentration and complete attention to all the words said is crucial.

We should think about the words, and comprehend the real meaning behind them. Context should be considered, and detail analysis given. Furthermore, a good amount of effort should be put into hearing every word. The word selection itself has meaning.

He makes the point that listening is not wrapped up in your own thoughts about whether the speaker is “annoying, long-winded, and loquacious.” Capturing every word is the way to communicate effectively. To master effective listening, consciously reduce the noises and distractions that would compromise the accuracy of what is said.

The whole listening process is more complicated than it seems.

It’s necessary to be as diligent as possible, eliminate error, and reduce misunderstanding, if listening well is the goal.

Read the full article here: The Difference Between Hearing and Listening

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