You probably attend a lot of important meetings, some face to face and others virtually.  You may find it difficult listen to people all day long.  Sometimes, it is hard to pay attention and remember everything or anything.  Sometimes we are not sure if we are really listening, or just hearing voices.

The bottom line is, there is a difference between hearing and listening.  We hear 24 hours a day, but we really listen to very little.

Active listening involves four major steps.

Step one.  Getting Prepared – physically and psychologically.  Get a good night’s rest.  Eat a balanced diet and improve your posture.  Psychologically review the agenda, the issues that will be discussed, and jot down some questions you would like to have answered.

Step two. Staying Involved.  Take notes, ask questions, share your opinions, offer insight, share information, and participate in discussions.

Step three.  Keeping an Open Mind.  The key to effective listening is to listen conscientiously for completeness and not jump to hasty generalizations or conclusions.  Listen comprehensively and try to withhold judgment until all of the information has been considered.

Step four.  Reviewing and Evaluating.  Two things.  Review and evaluate the information and also review and evaluate your performance as a listener.  When did you drift off…lose focus…or daydream.

When you have an upcoming meeting or conversation, get prepared, stay involved, keep an open mind, review and evaluate the information and your performance as a listener.  And yes, listening is different than hearing.

If you and your coworkers are struggling with really listening to each other, contact me at and I will provide a speech, seminar, workshop, or a live virtual presentation, that will enhance listening skills and improve relationships.