Improving Listening Skills

Have you ever had the experience that someone you were talking to don’t have a clue what you were trying to tell them?  Or they talked about something else totally unrelated to the subject?

At first, I thought it was the difficulty of the subject or I didn’t say it clear enough.  Later, I found out that the problem comes from the person themselves.  They don’t have the listening skills and also the proper conversation etiquette.

listening skills

Also, I found that no matter how logical my argument is, they will never accept what I am telling them.  Unfortunately, I have met quite a few people like that in my life.  Fortunately, they gave me more understanding of human behaviour.

When you meet someone like this; what should you do?  My advice doesn’t have any discussion with them in the future.  They will never agree with you on anything  and you will never enjoy the conversation.  So don’t waste time with them.  It is very frustrating if you have someone like this in your family.  Stay away from them is the best thing you can do.

I had a very unpleasant experience – I spent two hours trying to tell my colleague a technical problem I encountered.  Later, I found out that he didn’t even know what I was talking about.  I couldn’t believe I had wasted two whole hours – talking to a brick wall.

Why do they behave this way?

Opinionated people

Opinionated people don’t respect values and opinions of others.  They have their own opinion about every single thing and they always think they are correct.  Whatever you are trying to say, they will oppose your idea or they will steer the conversation to something else.

Bad conversation etiquette

They enjoy talking and don’t like to listen to others.  When their mouths are shut; they are thinking of what to say next – hence, they couldn’t listen properly.  Most often they will interrupt the conversation when others are still talking.  It is very impolite, but they don’t seem to know.

If you are in a group discussion, they might start another conversation with someone in the group while you are still talking.  I will often stop talking when it happens, it is to let other people notice what is happening.  It is a good way to make them realise what they are doing.

Lack of knowledge

Their lack of knowledge is due to the fact that they like to talk too much.  For we can learn from others when we listen.  Also, it is because of they are opinionated, and it is very difficult for them to accept a new idea and new knowledge.  Hence, you will find they like to talk about the same subject over and over again.

You would find that they are very predictable, they tend to follow a routine.

Racing thoughts

Their minds are filled with ideas and they are not able to organise it.  This makes it hard for them to focus on the topic of discussion.  They might think what they are saying is related to the subject, but it is obviously untrue.

Racing thought is actually a clinical condition.  A person who suffers from racing thoughts has no control over his or her train of thought and it stops them from focusing on one topic, also, they will have sleeping disorder.


It is the personality of these people.  They themselves do not know their own behaviours.  Other people who are around them might not be aware of it too; thinking they are only talkative.

I personally have observed these people.  Their behaviour might cause problems in their relationship with others.  They thought other people is prejudice toward them, but they don’t know it is their behaviour which is the real cause – which is very tragic.

Sorry, let us get back to listening skills

There are 4 things that you can do to help improve your listening skill, as long as you are not suffering from the above symptoms.

1. Learn to respect others.

When you respect someone, you will not interrupt them when they are talking.  Even children can teach us something new, so learn to respect everyone whoever they are –  young or old, rich or poor.

2. Don’t talk while others are talking.

Do not interrupt other people when they are talking, listen with intend.  It is very rude.  Would you like others to interrupt you when you are talking?

3. Don’t try to think of what you want to say next when listening.

When you are thinking, you cannot focus your attention to listen.  You can learn something when you listen, for your own benefit.


4. Don’t disagree immediately.

This is the hardest one to learn.  Most of the time, we have our own opinion on each and every issues.  Some people like to disagree with others; they want others to know they have a different idea – to show that they are smart.

Normally, it is better to spend time think over the idea of other people, before you decide the validity of their idea.  I would suggest if you disagree with anyone, keep it to yourself.  Be conscious of what you are doing during your conversation with others.

Observing the reaction of other people is the best way to judge if you are doing the right thing.  Keeping your mouth shut is the best way to learn the skill of listening.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” – Plato.

Listening skill will help you maintain a good relationship with others.

Signing off



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