Are You Actively Listening?

I found myself lost in Athens

Now, this isn’t unusual for me because I get lost all the time. 

This time though, I was in a foreign country and didn’t speak the language. 

My friends and I had somehow managed to veer off from the rest of our group and separated from our tour guide. 

Left to our own devices, we began to nervously and frantically concoct a mixture of French, Spanish and sign language to strangers on the street. 

But alas... our made up languages did not sound like Greek. 

We weren’t going anywhere. 

That is until we made a realization. 

We were more focused on whether we were being understood instead of listening to them. 

Eventually, we picked up on the body language of our local friends and they were able to guide us to our intended destination.

Key takeaway for me here was that It takes a lot of concentration and determination to be an active listener. 

Be deliberate with your listening and remind yourself frequently that your goal is to truly hear what the other person is saying.

Ask questions, reflect, and paraphrase to ensure you understand the message. 

If you don't, then you'll find that what someone says to you and what you hear can be amazingly different!

How often do you practice active listening?

Tayo Rockson

Tayo Rockson is a storyteller, cultural translator, and brand strategist for change-makers on a mission to use his difference to make a difference.  He is a 4x TEDx speaker, the CEO of UYD Management, and the host of the As Told by Nomads podcast. In addition to that, he's been named a "Top 40 Millennial Influencer" by New Theory magazine. His book Use Your Difference To Make A Difference is based on how to connect and communicate in a cross-cultural world.

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