Active Listening: Oh.. I'm sorry...did you say something?

Education & Training with Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group

listeningDid you ever forget what someone just told you because you were busy planning in your mind what you were going to say next?

Well, join the club!  We are all human, and for some reason, the human mind seems to drift into this habit until we practice and make a new habit out of "active listening."

Here is the text book definition from Wikipedia:

"Active listening is an intent to "listen for meaning." Active listening requires the listener to understand, interpret, and evaluate what they heard. The ability to listen actively can improve personal relationships through reducing conflicts, strengthening cooperation, and fostering understanding."

When talking amongst ourselves, we justifiably vent about clients who do not listen, brokers who do not listen, and even our children who do not listen.  How often do we really stop to think about our own listening ability?  I'm not judging some of the venting blogs this week.  They just got me thinking.  Especially since I started thinking of one of my own experiences before I had finished reading the blog!  I was interrupting my own reading with thoughts of what to say next.  I realized it was time to focus again on "active listening."  I don't know about you, but for me, it is something I have to focus on daily.

My first experience with this had to do with remembering names.  I had resigned myself to the belief that I was just bad with names.  Tired of confusing people, I decided to make a point of remembering everyone's name that I met.  I had to focus during conversations and then try to make a point of using the name I had just learned immediately when speaking with the person.  Low and worked!

My best real estate experience with this was actually when I was a buyer and not an agent.  Many years ago, my family had very specific needs for a home to include members of our extended family.  I spent an hour each with the first 2 Realtors we used explaining what we were looking for and why.  Both proceeded to try to show us oodles of homes that did not meet our needs.  The last Realtor we tried, spoke with us in detail for only 15 minutes.  He called back a week later with three homes for us to look at.  Each one of them met ALL of our requirements.  We picked one that very day and lived there happily for 6 years.

What did he have that the others didn't?   The skills needed to actually listen to people, ask questions to clarify, and even re-state what was just said to be absolutely sure that he understood what he heard.

The next time you have a conversation, see if you can catch yourself planning out your next line while someone else is talking.....or maybe it's just me :)

Posted by

The Maine Real Estate Network - Kristen Wheatley - Lewiston-Auburn Maine Real Estate

Maine Realtor Kristen Wheatley  

Kristen Wheatley is a Maine Realtor working and living in Central Maine.  She specializes in the sale of residential and investment property in the Lewiston-Auburn area and surrounding towns.  Kristen uses the latest tools and mobile technology to provide a superior experience and results for her clients and enjoys sharing these technology skills and teaching other real estate professionals and local small business owners.

The Maine Real Estate NetworkKristen Wheatley, Associate Broker
The Maine Real Estate Network
34 Center Street - Auburn ME 04210

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Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Patricia Aulson 05/14/2010 01:04 PM
  2. Sybil Campbell 05/23/2010 10:58 AM
  3. Joanna Cohlan 10/19/2011 03:18 PM
  4. Christine Blaski 01/08/2012 06:08 PM
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Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

No it's not just you. Like you said it is human nature. I also did it while reading your blog. Good post.

Apr 06, 2011 11:41 AM #61
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

That's a great point Randy.

LOL Sandi!

Apr 08, 2011 03:33 AM #62
Margie Kopp Sorrell
Coldwell Banker Lake Oconee Realty and Lake Country - Greensboro, GA
Lake Oconee Real Estate

Catch myself doing this all the time. I tend to hear something the person said but in my head I'm so busy thinking up a response that I don't listen thereafter. I constantly scold myself for this and fight to get better.

Apr 14, 2011 02:39 AM #63
Jeffry Evans
Temple, TX

I am definitely guilty of not really listening. Thanks for the reminder.

Apr 18, 2011 03:43 AM #64
William (Bill) Zoller
U.S. Inspect, LLC - Loveland, CO

Let me first say, I can be anticipating my comment and not really paying attention.  I try not to, but sometimes I'm too anxious to tell you about 'me', if you know what I mean.  With that said, I frequently will find myself explaining inspection findings during the inspection and the buyer/seller/owner will stare blankly in my face and then say something completely unrelated.  It's then I know I just need to put it in the report so they can read and digest!

May 23, 2011 08:08 AM #65
Eric Crane -- Your Full Service, Discount Fee Realtor®
DPR Realty LLC - Gilbert, AZ
Greater Metro Phoenix Arizona

a great reminder...
we have a general lack of concentration in all things... with the technology, the multi-tasking.  our sound byte world becomes a blur and suddenly we are gliding through, paying attention to nothing.  rather anticipating what is next (rather than living in that one moment)

Jun 06, 2011 07:59 PM #66
Louise Thaxton NMLS 69996
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp Louisiana NMLS#2289 Equal Housing Lender - Leesville, LA
Military Mtg Specialist - 866-960-9115 VA FHA USDA

Love the blog - and I need to take it to HEART!  so true that we MiSS so much by not ACTIVELY listening!  thanks agian - I'm listneing now.....

Jun 15, 2011 04:27 PM #67
Ken and Leslye Huebsch
3x Individual Agent of the Year, Luxury Homes, First-Time Buyers, Residential Resales, New Construction - Harrisburg, PA
Realtors - Harrisburg Homes for Sale 717.514.1793

I remember seeing a T-Shirt on the boardwalk that said, "My wife says I don't listen to her... or something like that". The author obviously has not read your blog on Active Listening!

Jun 27, 2011 03:58 PM #68
Carol Barron Cross
Sunflower Homes & Equestrian LLC

A wise person told me that," You cannot listen while you mouth is going". LOL So true.

Aug 03, 2011 01:01 AM #69
Richard D. Chapin
Arizona Elite Commercial - Payson, AZ
PLLC - Commercial Real Estate

we would make our job a whole lot easier if we put active listening into practice.

Aug 29, 2011 06:14 PM #70
Florida Tolbert Team Keller Williams Advantage
Keller Williams Advantage III Realty in Lake Nona - Orlando, FL
Keller Williams Land Division Specialist

So that is what we call it?  ACTIVE LISTENING!  And I always thought it was just great business on my part when I don't have to show any client more than 3 homes before they sign.

I interview them, I qualify them, I get them prequalified, and then we select choices online.

At over $3.00 per gallon for gas, I have gotten very good at getting it right VERY QUICKLY.

Maybe it's active listening, or maybe it's just being finely trained at my job.  Of course that is what happens to Keller Williams Agents is TRAINING TRAINING TRAINING on a daily basis.

How can you be anything but good at your job?


Sep 28, 2011 03:22 PM #71
Christine Gerbehy
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Northfield - Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Making waves, one home at a time...

omg, lol!  I do it ALL THE TIME, lol!  Twice I've hung up with phone calls for free foreclosure lists and realized that I got their email addresses, but not their name, lol!  I swear, I'm so sorry I'll forget something I want to say that I don't realize I'm doing it!

Oct 08, 2011 04:57 PM #72
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

So so important to be an active listener.  It streamlines communication.  Some of us are always thinking about the answer or being right, before we've even heard the question.  This is a great post and I'm going to suggest it.

Oct 19, 2011 03:14 PM #73
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Active listening and eye contact go hand in hand. I find that when I'm looking over someone's shoulder, planning my next move, it doesn't work. Lock on with the eyes when speaking to someone or they speak to you!

Oct 19, 2011 03:26 PM #74
Christine Blaski
RE/Max Properties of the Summit - Frisco, CO
Frisco, Summit County CO Realtor

Thanks Kristen, reminders such as this are always welcome.

"Active listening is an intent to "listen for meaning."  Words to remember.



Jan 08, 2012 06:05 PM #75
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Duct tape over the pie hole helps. But these real estate agents, brokers, those carrying the "R" gene in their DNA strands are a talkative, lively, anything but shy and reserved bunch. Using their hands to talk and with motion, to add to the conversation too! 

Feb 17, 2012 11:40 PM #76
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

This post is awesome and true...Thank you, I loved reading it, it's smart and makes so much sense...

Jul 07, 2012 02:51 AM #77
Reno, NV

Years ago... in the 80's I bought a series of cassettes on "The Art of Listening".... money well-spent. It really helped me as a Mom, to be able to be patient.... let my children complete their thoughts, give them time to reason and respond.  More than anything, I learned patience and to be respectful of others to let them finish their thoughts. We all know someone that constantly interrupts, and nothing is more disrespectful.... even to children.  After all... respect is earned.  Thanks for your post.... and my boys, as grown men now will always say: "You are a great Mom, you always listened to me"....... the best compliment.

Nov 04, 2012 01:21 PM #78
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"


I applaud you for bringing this ever so important topic to your post! I will confess to doing it even when I know I am not supposed to. Kristin... you could (and maybe should) re-post this every week. Thant's how important it is and that's how often WE need to be reminded. It's a crazy world out there and as someone commented "we feel we want too blurt out our thoughts before we forget them".

I find opening my notebook (bound journal) and taking notes as I ask questions helps me remember and keeps me from rambling. (a little)  


Jan 25, 2013 10:44 PM #79
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

A number of years ago I read a book that was so worthwhile and I believe has enriched my life. The name of the book was: THE ART OF LISTENING. When we are a good listener, we focus on the other, pay attention to the other, acknowledge the other, appreciate the other that what they are saying is important. It is not just hearing the other which is biological, but instead, a powerful psychological skill of being silent and in the silence, understanding the other. When we are silent when another is speaking, it is the beginning of connecting with another. This is in my mind, a great skill which I try to remember day to day. I do not have to chime in every other one of their sentences, I can perhaps learn something if I listen. In return, they recognize I wanted to hear them speak. The returns to people who listen can be very rewarding.

May 05, 2013 12:33 PM #80
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