Caring for adults
Caring for adults

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Caring for adults

3.1 Listening is not the same as hearing

Hearing refers to the sounds that you hear, but listening needs you to focus. Listening means paying attention not only to the words but to how they are said.

  • What kind of language is being used?
  • What is the tone of voice telling you?
  • What does the person’s body language tell you?

You need to be aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages, and your ability to be a good listener depends on how well you see and understand these messages.

Activity 8

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Watch this TED talk about the art of active listening.

Download this video clip.Video player: Active listening
Skip transcript: Active listening

Transcript: Active listening

Active listening

So I’m walking along, and my friend Dom is beside me. And he’s describing this really cool idea he has for ASG. But instead of paying attention to what he’s saying, I’m looking at posters, the really cool posters on the wall. And my phone buzzes. So I pick it up and I continue that conversation from last night. And then I turn to Dom, and he’s like, wouldn’t that be cool? And I go, wait, what would be cool?
I realised that I was not engaging with the person who was right beside me. And that was not good. And so now, in my own life, I’m trying to implement this thing called active listening. And three words come to my mind when I think of active listening. And they are be, here, now. Seize the moment. Live in this moment. Listen to the person who is right beside you.
So to do this, I put away all distractions. I shove my phone in my pocket, get rid of that poster in my head. And then I use my face and my body to convey that I’m open and interested in what this person is trying to communicate. I make eye contact with them. Now, I don’t stare them down because, let’s be honest, staring somebody down might be a little intimidating coming from someone who’s five feet tall.
So I occasionally make eye contact. I uncross my hands, unclench my fists, let them know that I’m here to listen to them. And then when they’re all done finishing up their thought, I wrap it all up. So what you’re saying is – and it gives them a chance to go, no, no, no. You got it all wrong. This is what I’m saying. And then they’ll re-explain it all over again. And I’ll go, OK, OK, so what you really mean is this. And they’ll go yes. You understand. You get it. Thank you for listening to me.
Listening is such a powerful tool. It conveys to people that you are here to listen to them, that you’re not preoccupied with something that’s distant and irrelevant. That’s for your Facebook time, you know, later when you’re chatting with your friends at 12 o’clock at night, not now, not where people are right in front of you.
And so this is what I challenge all of you to do. Put away distractions. Use your face and your body. Let them know that you’re interested in what they have to say. And, finally, provide feedback. Let them know that you were listening the whole entire time, that you were there for them. And I promise you that when you guys implement this into your own life, it will make all the difference in seizing the moment.
And just a note, it’s not easy. It’s definitely hard. It takes focus and concentration. And I still don’t listen to people sometimes. And I feel bad when I don’t do it. But when I do, it makes all the difference. Thank you for listening.
End transcript: Active listening
Active listening
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Katie Owens tells us to remember three key words if we are going to be active listeners. They are:

  • Be
  • Here
  • Now.

What do you think she means by this? Write your answer below.

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Katie Owens says that we should be present for the person we are listening to. We need to be in the moment with them, not doing anything else or distracted by anything else, such as mobile phones or having one eye on the television. It is also helpful to sum up what someone has told you, to give them the chance to check whether you have listened correctly and have understood what they have told you.


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