Posts Tagged ‘relationships’


10 Ways to Show You Are NOT Listening

December 10, 2007

In previous Listening Matters posts, you’ve read about 10 Ways Educators Can Listen Better to Their Students and 10 Reasons Parents Must Become Effective Listeners. Today, I have for you something that’s a bit more tongue-in-cheek. Daryl Vander Kooi, Ed.D., a former executive board member of the International Listening Association, shares with us a sampling of ways that he’s experienced people not listening.

  1. GO AHEAD; DO THE SAME THING. Continue to do as you were. Don’t stop, ask “what,” or walk over to see what the other person wanted.
  2. SLEEP. If you feel too self-conscious about sleeping during a meeting, at least let your eyes glaze. Remember to prop your head with your hand so that it does jerk you around when you do nod off.
  3. FAKE ATTENTION. See if you can master the art of having your head nod affirmatively without it becoming regular and expected.
  4. ADJUST THE VOLUME. Make a clear, unobtrusive gesture that you are turning your hearing aid volume down or your iPod volume up.
  5. SMILE EVEN WHEN YOU DISAGREE. Smile. Make it look like you agree with the speaker, when he knows that you do not.
  6. CHANGE THE CHANNEL. When your spouse, brother, sister, parent, or friend begins a conversation about the television program that’s on, change the channel.
  7. READ. When your spouse is hinting at a conversation, say, “Just a minute.” Go to the restroom and read Sports Illustrated or Everyday with Rachael Ray. Maybe your spouse will forget.
  8. USE E-MAIL. If you want to avoid some subjects while still maintaining a superficial contact, forward as many e-mail junk stories as possible beginning each with “Mom, I just loved this one.” And be sure to never check out the validity of the stories at
  9. CHANGE THE SUBJECT. Act as though you misunderstood; say, “Oh, I’m sorry, but I thought you asked me something else,” and then continue with what you thought.
  10. DON’T. One of the best ways to convince others that you are not listening is to not listen.

— Daryl Vander Kooi, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus, Dordt College

What other ways have you experienced people not listening to you? It’s unfortunate, but I bet we can double this list . . .