Use Listening As A Conversation Tool

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on


I recently read a piece by Alise Wright titled Shut Your Mouth, where she talks about using listening as a conversation tool. You know, versus just waiting for someone to finish talking so you can get your two cents in. It’s such a common practice in our “conversation” today, to begin to formulate our answer to whatever’s being said, while it’s being said, so we often can’t even hear what’s being said. Then when we say what we have to say, we’re not really responding to anyone, we’re just giving our side of the story/argument without bothering to listen to anyone else’s. Sound familiar?

It’s easier to listen when we’re interested in the other side of the conversation. When we’re listening for confirmation of our own beliefs on the other side of that conversation. When we’re in agreement with what’s being said on the other side of the conversation. That’s when we’re all ears.

It’s much more difficult to listen when there’s a discrepancy between what we believe and what’s being said on the other side of the conversation. That’s when we become uncomfortable or disinterested and begin formulating our response before listening to the end of the sentence.

Most of the time we don’t even realize we’re doing it. We go on about our “conversations” as if they’re two sided and call it “engaging” when really, it’s not much more than peeing all over one another (or at least the conversation) to mark our proverbial territories. “This is totally my conversation, and I’m peeing on it to prove it!” “You don’t know what you’re talking about so I’m going to pee on it, too…” And so the cycle continues.

Today I implore you to break the cycle, if there’s one to be broken, and not pee all over your conversations. ‘Cause I mean, that’s just gross, right?


Use that listening as a conversation tool and notice how your conversations evolve.


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