Five Traits Of A Bad Listener – Number Three

 Number Three:  Be Distracted

This is a surefire way to make the listener feel like you don’t give a hoot about what they are saying.  Have you ever been talking to someone and they seem to be looking everywhere but at you?  This is more than frustrating, it is downright rude.  You’re at dinner with your partner, just the two of you, and while you’re trying to have a conversation he may be looking around or watching the TV.  Do you have to get right into the line of sight of a partner or friend and ask “Are you listening to me?”  It is curious when the person gets frustrated with you especially if they would be very offended if it was being done to them.  Needless to say, eye contact is very important to attentive listening.

I have talked to many people who find eye contact uncomfortable.  They have said that it makes them very nervous.  They have acknowledged that they know it doesn’t go over well with people even though they are sincerely listening.  This may be true for you.  Working on your insecurities in this area will greatly help your connections with others.

Poor eye contact is one form of negative non-verbal communication.  Looking distracted physically is another form of poor non-verbal communication.  Things like having your body turned away from the person; legs and hands crossed in a closed position; head nodding or turning in a disapproving fashion; grunting etc.  Back when I was in my undergraduate studies I was taught that 90% of communication is non-verbal.  What is your non-verbal language telling the person?  Is it showing the person that you are paying attention and interested in what they are saying? Or is it suggesting that you are disinterested and bored?


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