Listening is a positive act: you have to put yourself out to do it.

David Hockney

If you’re anything like me, you’ve had those conversations with someone where you’ve walked away and then realised that you haven’t listened to, or picked up on, what that person was really trying to convey.

We’re so busy, distracted, preoccupied or self-absorbed that listening can be the last thing on our minds.

Over the years I’ve facilitated many workshops on communication and I usually give everyone some fun listening tests to highlight this issue – trust me, our listening skills usually leave a lot to be desired!

On the other hand, if we meet someone who is a great listener we probably come away from that conversation feeling valued and connected to that person just because they took the time to really listen.

Another case of ‘simple but not easy’. We all know what we have to do, it’s just doing it!

So, let’s think about putting the phone or tablet out of sight, paying attention to the person who’s speaking to us and actively listening to their concerns – that will encourage real communication and build the relationship.