Listening Is Difficult. Here’s Why.
Why is Listening Difficult?

Ever drift off to a random thought mid-meeting, only to come back wondering what the hell the other person is talking about? Or worse, they’ve asked you a question and you have no idea what they’ve just asked? “Oh sorry, I got distracted, I wasn’t listening”. Yeah, not the best look.

The thing is no one is ever listening. Ever. When someone starts talking, the mind has a million avenues it can go. “Have I sent that email?”… ”That project document deadline is tomorrow and I’m behind”… “Oh, look! A notification – I should check that – it might be important.”… “Wow my Zoom background is terrible, maybe I should get a plant.” “Is now a good time to adopt a pet?” 

Listening is difficult | SNP Communications

The list goes on…

Whether we’re in-person or virtual, it’s hard to be fully present and listen to another person. Even when we’re trying our best.  Listening truly is a skill, a discipline to be practiced. Like learning a new language or an instrument. 

So, how do you do it? How do you know if you’re actually listening? Try this: See if you can capture the essence of what the other person has said with a quick playback. 

For example:

Colleague: “This project has taken forever. We’ve had so many blockers and lengthy negotiations with legal and policy. So much back and forth. It’s been really, really challenging. I’m so glad to see it launch at the end of the month”

You: “It sounds like this has been a tough project but the end is in sight.” 

The other person will either confirm, modify, or correct you. Whatever the reaction, you can be confident that you’re making the other person feel heard. It also challenges your own assumptions of a situation, helping you gain a little more clarity. 

The impact?

Better understanding, building empathy, and deepening the relationship. Not bad for a quick playback.

Still unsure if you’re listening or not? Check out our other blog post, the 5 Signs You Don’t Know How To Listen.

Like this article?

Share on Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Pinterest

GMU Live

Hyatt tapped SNP to create a video promoting GMU Live — the onsite portion of General Manager University onboarding program. SNP traveled to Chicago for the shoot to coach the speakers on camera and capture compelling b-roll that highlighted the new general managers’ emotional, and educational journey into Hyatt.

Hyatt Glasswing Overview

SNP produced an internal marketing video to help raise awareness and adoption of Hyatt’s new Glasswing application, which tracks real-time financial data, KPIs, and other core metrics for owners and operators. From conducting the interviews, to coaching the speakers on camera and editing the video, SNP owned the content creation at each step of production.

Back in 2013, Asana was still a young company and some of their managers were experiencing leadership roles for the first time. So they needed to learn how to be, well, leaders. Like how to be more influential, directive, confident, and how to deal with conflict. Because if they could flourish then Asana could start to scale even faster (and without so many growing pains).

Enter SNP.

We started with just one 1:1 coaching relationship. But the good word spread fast. Soon enough more people from Asana’s management team were seeking our unique third party perspective, skill-based approach, and communications expertise to build their personal brand, strengthen their careers, and achieve more. (And did we mention the coaching program was a perk that attracted new talent? We didn’t? Well…) Eight years later and Asana is still scaling. And we’re still by their side helping them do it.

By clicking on "Submit", you agree to the SNP Privacy Policy and communication from SNP Communications through the contact information listed.


By clicking on “Submit”, you agree to the SNP Privacy Policy and communication from SNP Communications through the contact information listed.