(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


That doesn’t sound right, does it? Sounds like Apples versus Oranges. I got graphic examples of the distinction when I recently attended the annual convention of the National Speakers Association.

When someone is listening to you there is a calmness, a sense of connection, and full attention on their part, not only to what you say but how you say it. There is typically a slight pause after you finish speaking while the listener fully absorbs your final words, processes them and then responds. A listener’s response will make direct reference to your points, perhaps even using some of your language. You feel fully heard.

On the other hand someone who is waiting is not hearing you, only formulating what they’re next going to say when you finish talking. The joke is that at a meeting of speakers everyone is either “shoot’n or reload’n, ain’t nobody listen’n”! You can tell when you are not being listened to and it doesn’t make you feel good.


Coaching Point: What one change can you make that will cause you to become a better listener?


Copyright 1997 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.