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I'm a terrible listener
buzzed, B&W
hairylunch
I know I'm bad at this - when I think I know where someone's going to end their thoughts/sentence, I'm prone to interrupt, lacking the patience to let them spell it out in their way.

While thinking about this, I came across Stop Saying, 'What I Hear You Saying is...!', and most relevantly:

Force yourself to postpone forming an opinion or a judgment about what you are hearing. You can evaluate the message after you hear it and are certain that you fully comprehend it. Do not interrupt or cut the speaker short; and never finish the other person's statement. These behaviors define rude.


This was highlighted for me at work recently where one of my coworkers pointed out to me that my criticality was seen as negativity, and not contributing towards a solution. My lack of really listening and my jumping to conclusions made me miss this perception. I realized they had been seeing me as a blocker, but I had attributed this mainly to them. Due to not listening well, I had missed that they weren't understanding that what I was saying is "we don't have a problem" and "continuing what we're doing/not changing/doing nothing is best".

I know when I've been saying "What I hear you saying . . . ", I've thought to myself "oh man, I hope this doesn't come across as condescending" (which is the main point the blog author seems to be making). It's interesting that the phrase has become so loaded these days. The author proposes some other ways to practice reflective listening:

"I heard your words but may have misunderstood your message, so I'd like to clarify. Is it your position that...?"

I want to be sure I've got it straight. Do I understand you to mean ...

"So, if I could just double-check that I've got it. You feel that ..., Is that correct?"

"Please help me to better appreciate your point by really understanding it. Did you say, using my own words, that ...?"

"I think I understand, but want to be sure. Did you basically say ...?"

"I really want to understand your point. Help me to confirm or clarify what I think I heard. Are you saying something along these lines ..."


Ugh, communication is hard.

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