You're Not Listening

You're Not Listening

The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. Listening goes beyond just hearing what people say - it's about paying attention to how they say it, what they do while they are saying it, what the context/topic of conversation is, their current emotions/inner dialogue, their individual background (native language, culture, familial upbringing), how what they say resonates within you (i.e. using conversational sensitivity to pick up on other physical, chemical, emotional, and intellectual cues), and literally which ear the information is coming into.
  2. β€£
    More on the lateralization on hearing
  3. The inability to listen properly will hinder your personal growth and limit the depth of relationships that you can have with the people around you; your ability to be a good listener is directly correlated to the depth of relationships you build.
  4. The best thing you could possibly do as a listener is remember that it has NOTHING to do with you, it is all about them. Be genenuinly curious about what they are saying and aim to learn as much as you can.
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    Some actionable do's and don'ts to be a better listener
    • Be more curious
    • Ask relevant questions
    • Ask for clarification if you did not fully understand something
    • Think of listening as being similar to meditation. You want to rid your brain of all other thoughts - let yourself get fully immersed in the speakers mind
    • As a more general cue, try to follow the philosopher Paul Grice's four maxims of conversations to assess the effectiveness of your dialogue
    • Interrupt or try to finish their sentences. Don't assume you know what they are going to say
    • Minimize their concerns, or try to 'solve' their problems
    • Respond vaguely or illogically to what was just said
    • Look at anything other than the speaker. This is why I think that recording conversations for later analysis/review is extremely useful!
    • Fidget (e.g., tapping on the table, frequently shifting positions, clicking a pen, etc.)
    • Redirect the conversation to something that you are narrowly experienced in - it's ok to let them lead

Impressions πŸ€”

Although I read this book sometime last year, my takeaways in the 'How this Book Changed Me' below have still stuck with me ever since, and I'm confident that I will use these learnings for the rest of my life.

I did find that as I progressed through the book, the message became somewhat repetitive and there were generally less captivating real-world examples or stories to follow along with - in the final chapters, I found myself focusing less on the general content and more on 'quotable lines' or new terminologies.

Who Should Read It❓

I chose to read this book after it being recommended by one of my coworkers while I was working in a retail position at an Apple Store. Since then, my learnings have translated into all of my professional experiences and personal relationships.

I would recommend this book to anyone is looking to level up their personal relationships and learn how to have better interactions with other people in general.

More specifically, if you are a leader of any sort (i.e., executive, manager, team leader, parent, captain, etc.), the value that you can bring to your team by becoming a better listener is exponential.

How the Book Changed Me πŸ’―

How my life / behaviour / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.
  • I speak less and listen more
  • I constantly use the thought of being curious - it makes everything so much more interesting
    • "Good listeners are good questioners"
  • I have worked on becoming a better listener with my family and friends, as they were the ones I found myself getting impatient with
  • I have become more 'present' in my conversations with people
  • I try to read 'between the lines' more
  • Most of the other changes that I have seen in myself are in the list of Do's & Don'ts above

My Favourite Quotes πŸ—£

"Everyone is interesting if you ask the right questions"
"Hearing is passive. Listening is active"
"Talking without listening is like touching without being touched"
"Listening requires, more than anything, curiosity"
"Evolution gave us eyelids so we can close our eyes, but no corresponding structure to close off our ears. It suggests listening is essential to our survival"
"Even in the era of abundant data, we need to listen to get a better understanding"
"By listening, you're welcoming another person's words and feelings into your consciousness"