Improve Your Listening Skills By Turning Off Your Expectations

Improve Your Listening Skills by Turning Off Your Expectations

If we're completely honest, a lot of our conversations can be predictable after a while. It's no surprise that we often respond to what we expect to hear rather than what's actually said. Switch those expectations off and learn to be a better listener.

Picture: Ben Smith

Creativity blog The Creative Organisation explains how our expectations can stifle our ability to truly listen. Whether it's listening to music, taking in some artwork or just hearing a loved one talk about their day, identifying and then ignoring our typical expectations can improve our ability to truly comprehend:

Listening is a state of absolute receptivity…you don't expect anything and you don't want anything.

This state of receptivity also applies to listening to music, and even to the visual world. Broadly speaking, we can listen to a painting or a photograph in the same way we listen to a symphony. We can take it in, initially at least, without going on and on about it inside our own minds.

It may not come naturally to begin with, but the first step towards eschewing our expectations is to acknowledge they exist in the first place. You can try it out in simple, routine conversations with coworkers or people you interact with on a daily basis. Hear what they say and examine how you expect them to respond.

Creativity and Listening [The Creative Organisation via 99u]


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