The Importance of Listening: Tap into the Journalist inside You

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attentive-listeningI realized that after experiencing both the good and the bad, the one universal desire that everyone has in common— people want to be understood and heard. Every time we open ourselves up to the world, we welcome in criticism, judgment, and every day reality that makes us flawed and human. So, most of us are grateful when we meet nonjudgmental people.

Some people are more introverted than others, but everyone to some degree enjoys having the opportunity to be heard. And unfortunately we’ve all been a little guilty of interrupting others only to insert our own experiences, stories, perspective, and opinion. Extroverted individuals are often guilty of selling themselves a little too much. Personally, I have always experienced social anxiety. Most people wouldn’t know it because I appear quite talkative, energetic, and openly friendly to any stranger I meet. Though, inside, I am aware of nervous energy and social anxiety that have always been with

I’ve always been a believer in introspection and doing a thorough internal examination because this is the only way we can ever truly grow. People often have a bucket list of things that they’d like to achieve before they exit this world. But, rarely do individuals decide that they’d like to conquer some of their personal fears. Ever since I was a kid, I have always noticed that twinge of social awkwardness that never let me forget that I was neither fully Hispanic nor fully Asian, but something else entirely.

I was a hybrid of many cultures and traveling all throughout this country, experiencing 30 some odd states; my perspective has been influenced by an eclectic array of communities.

And no matter how much exposure to the numerous individuals that have crossed my path, fear of crowds has always been something I have had to work hard to overcome. Even when meeting up with people that I have met a few times and aren’t considered total strangers I notice the nervous tightness in my gut. The one thing that has helped me during interactions with others is to make it completely about them. My previous experience producing news for an ABC affiliate in New York helped to hone my interviewing skills.

If you are meeting people for the first time, hanging with acquaintances, or really good friends try doing the following:listening-ear

sunflowerSpeak less and listen more.

sunflowerAsk lots of questions and not the type of questions that can be answered with a yes or no response.

sunflowerDo not interrupt the person you are asking questions of.

Save any further questions you might have after the person has finished their thought. If you interrupt someone during a thought, it might throw them off track, and it’s also rude. I have found that by asking more questions and listening rather than talking forces you to take the focus off of yourself. This eliminates the chance that you might over talk, over sell yourself, or otherwise monopolize the conversation.

A conversation is supposed to be a dialogue and not a monologue. When you practice active listening, people are willing to open up more, and this allows for any social awkwardness to slowly dissipate. Listening just enough to hurry the speaker so that you can have the floor to talk is not truly listening.

The Bottom Line

Being a good listener is a great way to open up your soul to people. It provides an opportunity to really bond with someone else and gives you a new perspective or insight about the person you’re speaking to, that you might not have known otherwise. You learn more about others and they are more likely to remember you when you make it about them and not about yourself.

Ernest Hemingway






4 thoughts on “The Importance of Listening: Tap into the Journalist inside You

    mjthier said:
    August 11, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    What helps every listener is to understand how you listen. Each of us has a unique set of listening habits that cause us to respond in certain ways in every context and with every person. There is no uniform way to listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    lilpickmeup said:
    August 11, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Very true. The hardest part of listening for me is not interrupting. 🙂


      mjthier said:
      August 11, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      Once you understand how interrupting scrambles the brain’s ability to focus on what is said, like trying to speak two languages simultaneously, you might not be as prone to interrupt. It’s fascinating to see the brain’s activity while listening, as well as when it’s doing something else. I went to a brain lab during the research that lead to the development of my assessment: Hear! Hear? Your Listening Portfolio(R), and was blown away by what I saw. Listening is an extremely complex set of skills.

      Liked by 1 person

    DanaB said:
    September 4, 2014 at 5:56 AM

    Really enjoyed this article. I have to agree with lilpickmeup in regards to “the hardest part of listening for me is not interrupting”, this is true in my case also and this article has really introduced me to the importance of listening. When I look back on situations where I played more of a “listening” role, I came out of those situations with a much better experience then if I was the center of attention and doing all the talking.

    Loved the “Bottom Line” and it was straight to the point and wrapped everything up nicely. Thank you for a very smart article. Can’t wait to read more on this site!


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