Hearing vs. Listening

DEFINITIONS Hearing - To perceive or apprehend by the ear; to gain knowledge of by hearing; to listen to with attention. Listening - To pay attention to sound; to hear something with thoughtful attention; to give consideration; to be alert to catch an unexpected sound. COMPARISONS To really key in to what the person is saying and not saying. To look for the meaning and the feelings behind what is being said. To go beyond the words. Giving your deepest level of attention. vs. Simply receiving the words which can become only "sounds". Not trying to understand, ot get below the surfce. Giving only peremptory attention. Not absorbing feelings or taking in any new information. EXAMPLE Mary sat and let Nancy explain the new project she wanted to initiate, but Mary's mind was already made up. She had made up her mind beforehand she didn't want to do and had closed her mind. She just sat and let Nancy explain as a matter of courtesy, but didn't take in any new information. She had already decided to say "no". Jane on the other hand was vitally interested in what Paul had to say about the new project he was proposing. She repeated back what she thought she was hearing. She asked questions. She asked how Paul felt about this and that, and expressed her own feelings. She went below the surface to see what Paul intended to accomplish. She was actively involved in the conversation. She listened with her heart as well as her intellect. KEY POINT Hearing requires very active participation. You can listen to sounds, but to hear what the person means, and what they're trying to explain to you takes being receptive at many levels and is hard work. RELATED DISTINCTION Feeling vs. Touching Holding v. Carrying BENEFITS You can't connect with people unless you are willing to hear, and not just listen.