Real Estate Communication: Hearing vs Understanding 

Education & Training with Darryl Davis Seminars

In communication, there is a difference between hearing the words someone says and understanding their meaning. It comes down to being fully present in the conversation rather than thinking about what you are going to say in response.  


One thing that I have been thinking about a lot lately is how we communicate (or fail to communicate) with people. My wife and I learned recently that my father-in-law has to get hearing aids, and while we were at the audiologist, the doctor explained how hearing aids work. He also went on to explain how some of the other issues we were facing were related to his hearing loss.  


Now, the problem for most people who have trouble hearing and don’t have a hearing aid is that they have to focus extra hard on figuring out what the other person is saying. Some people with hearing loss can’t hear certain pitches, so they strain to understand the words. This can be like trying to assemble a puzzle quickly and mentally without the picture on the box. The strain of focusing that hard just on hearing the words actually hurts their cognitive processing ability, and they can’t retain what is being said. Their whole focus is on hearing rather than retaining and understanding.  


Listening is More Than Hearing The Words 

It was an interesting conversation, and it got me thinking about how it’s like doing a listing appointment or any other conversation we have with potential clients. Maybe you have been in a conversation with someone, and you knew they weren’t really listening to you. Perhaps they answered a question that you didn’t ask, or they made a comment to agree with you, but that wasn’t actually what you said? You just knew they weren’t listening, and you probably didn’t walk away from that chat with the belief they were a brilliant conversationalist.  


Related Reading: Real Estate Coaching Tips: Your “Touch Base” Calls Are Not About You 


When you are so focused on thinking of things to say that will show how skilled you are, what a great agent you are, or why they should hire you, you aren’t really hearing what they are telling you. When our focus is on what we are going to say or thinking about an analogy we could use, it hurts our communication because our focus is not on our potential clients. It hurts our level of understanding of what the other person needs or wants, and it hurts our ability to connect with them and build rapport.   


Here's the secret sauce: People just want to feel heard. When you can make someone feel like you are truly hearing them (be it their complaints, commitments, or interests), when they can walk away from a conversation feeling like they have been heard, they will think you are a brilliant conversationalist! You don't even need to say much; just listen attentively! They will look forward to talking again, and that's the key to winning people over. 


Pay Attention to Where Your Mind Is During a Conversation 

Going into this week, pay special attention to where your focus is when you are talking to others. Are you truly listening to your potential clients? Will they feel like you genuinely heard them? Heard their concerns? Their dreams? Goals? Focus less on using the right words and focus more on tuning into the other person and the message they are trying to convey to you. Focus on connecting with them and letting the conversation flow naturally.   


Related Reading: The Power of Being Present 

Related Reading: Psychology Today – The 10 Qualities of Great Listeners 


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Comments (15)

Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

When we integrate emotional intelligence into our conversation, that will enhance our understanding.

Jun 14, 2022 07:50 AM
Darryl Davis, CSP


Jun 15, 2022 05:52 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Darryl, and thank you for the great information to share with us here in the Rain.  Make it a great day!

Jun 14, 2022 08:14 AM
Darryl Davis, CSP


Jun 15, 2022 05:52 AM
Daniel Ramsey
MyOutDesk - Sacramento, CA
MyOutDesk - Real Estate Virtual Professionals

You don't even need to say much; just listen attentively! They will look forward to talking again, and that's the key to winning people over.




Thanks for the great article Darryl!

Jun 14, 2022 02:00 PM
Darryl Davis, CSP

Thanks, Daniel! 

Jun 15, 2022 05:52 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Darryl- we all want to be heard. There is nothing more disrespectful or distracting when you know the person you are speaking with is looking around the room or planning on what they will say next. 

Jun 15, 2022 07:23 PM
Darryl Davis, CSP

Yes! 😊

Jun 16, 2022 04:26 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Being present takes constant effort but it totally worth it.

Jun 18, 2022 04:43 AM
Darryl Davis, CSP


Jun 19, 2022 07:14 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Darryl. While getting better at hearing the message opposed to just listening to the words, the battle continues. Enjoy your day.

Jun 18, 2022 05:16 AM
Darryl Davis, CSP


Jun 19, 2022 07:14 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Darryl - thanks for that information.  Active listening requires people to return with what I heard you say was...

Jun 18, 2022 07:16 AM
Darryl Davis, CSP


Jun 19, 2022 07:15 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

One of my degrees was in Communication and I so remember one of the best courses I took was Effective Listening.  It really taught us to hear, really hear what the other person was saying and asks probing questions to go further (if needed). Great post Darryl!

Jun 18, 2022 10:01 AM
Darryl Davis, CSP

Thank you, Anna! 


Jun 19, 2022 07:15 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good afternoon Darry,

What an awesome post! Welcome to Active Rain and will look forward to many more interesting posts. Being present in all conversations pay big dividends!

Jun 18, 2022 11:27 AM
Darryl Davis, CSP

Thank you, Dorie! 


Jun 19, 2022 07:17 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Jun 18, 2022 06:20 PM
Darryl Davis, CSP


Jun 19, 2022 07:18 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Listening is key in any conversation...whether in our business or in real life. I suspect that most people want to feel that they are being heard, and the response and body language are good clues as to whether or not that is happening.

Jun 19, 2022 08:17 PM
Darryl Davis, CSP


Jun 20, 2022 05:37 AM
Gary J. Muccio, Associate Broker
Keller Williams of Central PA - Camp Hill, PA
Exceptional Customer Service!

Good morning, Darryl!

Great post - thanks for sharing. I always try to remember the old rule taught to me long ago - Listen 80%; Talk 20%. I also agree with Leanne, integrating emotional intelligence into our conversations is so important. Continued success to you!

Jun 20, 2022 05:40 AM
Darryl Davis, CSP

Agreed! Thank you, Gary! 


Jun 20, 2022 04:10 PM
Timothy Jones
Littleton, CO

Active listening, being present.  Darryl, your comments remind us what sets the great agents apart from just average...  Thank you!


Tim Jones

Jones Team Colorado | eXp Realty

Jun 20, 2022 12:16 PM
Darryl Davis, CSP

Thank you, Tim! 


Jun 20, 2022 04:10 PM
Emcee M. Arah
Remax Excellence - Silver Spring, MD - Silver Spring, MD
Realtor w/Architectural Dimension, AHWD CRS B-Arch

So true, Darryl. Too often, we are so focused on what our response will be that we don't really pay attention to what they're actually saying. This is a terrible trait - for real estate agents especially.


Jun 20, 2022 04:25 PM
Darryl Davis, CSP


Jun 21, 2022 06:20 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Welcome to the Rain. Looking forward to many more posts from you.

Jun 21, 2022 07:48 PM
Darryl Davis, CSP

Thank you, Paula! 

Jun 22, 2022 06:21 AM