How Well Do You Listen?

Photo of children on cell photosToday’s consumers are screenaholics and are checking their smartphones 1 billion times a day. More than a year ago, said Deloitte & Touche. See “Consumers check smartphones more than 9 billion times a day and enable new businesses




Photo of person listening

The simple secret to fast tracking and deepening your connections is to  “LISTEN“. Yet few of us truly do, we seem to be more focused on broadcasting our perceptions and thinking; and we seem to be getting louder and louder at doing that and with more bias.



Wisdom from Leah Hynes Nazrin and  Murphie founders of The Connection Effect:

The (easy) fast track to connecting deeply!

In order to listen deeply, there’s a long list of ‘don’ts’ that you must honor:

  • Don’t fix it – I resisted the urge to put this one in ALL CAPS – usually people already have all the answers, your attempts to fix it will encourage disconnection – the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve here.
  • Don’t give unsolicited advice – similar to above, just don’t even go there unless asked!
  • Don’t turn the conversation to you at the first opportunity.
  • Don’t try and turn someone’s pain into a delight – by helping someone to ‘see the bright-side’ you are actually telling them that their feelings are not ok.
  • Ask questions ‘on topic’ – ask things like ‘What’s that been like for you? How did that make you feel? What do you mean by ‘xyz’?
  • Don’t dismiss their feelings – it will feel unnatural, but actually encourage them to go deeper if they are comfortable using the above questions.
  • Don’t take on their feelings as your own – make sure you have good boundaries – empathize, but don’t make their feelings yours, it will become counter-productive.
  • Don’t run from them because of the discomfort you feel around their sharing – often we try and fix or give advice or be an optimist simply because someone else’s distress makes us uncomfortable – cut that out! It’s disrespectful.
  • Don’t interrupt or share how this reminds you of a similar story from your life (it hijacks the conversation – there is nothing more irritating!).
  • Basically: Don’t.Do.Anything.


Sherry Turkle’s book Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age is worth the read.

Listening is the greatest gift we can give our troubled souls according to Rabbi Sacks

The greatest gift you can give someone is your time, your attention, your love, your concern.

— Joel Osteen

Ask yourself: “How often do I listen to others, or listen to nature and our surroundings?” How much of my time do we listen to ourselves (self talk), rather than being truly present for others in a conversation?

“It is our own inability to put aside control long enough to actually listen to those who don’t share our views.” – John B. Izzo Ph.D,. The Five Thieves of Happiness

Photo of Native Americans

“Listen to the wind, it talks.
Listen to the silence, it speaks.
Listen to your heart, it knows.”
—  Native American Proverb



Learn More:
5 ways to listen better – Julian Treasure
TED Talks to help you be a better listener

Could You Pass the 3 Minute Test?
Being able to quite one’s mind is imperative to listening
Connected Yet Disconnected
Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (Book)