“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.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.