Listen to understand, not respond

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”

– Stephen Covey

A misstep we often make in conversation is viewing it as a tennis match. It’s back and forth, yes, but not a contest. We are swift to volley a reply, eager to be heard, but are we truly understanding the serve? Consider this: you’re not just an eager speaker; you’re an audience. There’s value to be harvested in every word shared with you.

The art of communication is mired in this simple truth: we must listen to understand, not just to respond. An insightful reply is born from understanding, not haste. Listening to understand means making a cognitive shift from formulating a response to truly processing what’s being communicated. This is how conversations bloom into dialogues, and how exchanges morph into insights. Change your listening strategy. Understand first, then reply. A fruitful conversation awaits.