What did you say?

15 Jun

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

There is a traditional Chinese character for the word “ting” which means “to listen.”

Its component parts exemplify the essence of good listening. That’s what I love about it.Ting - to listen

First, there are the ears. You can hear without them. It’s more than just the words, though. What is the pitch and the tone?

The Chinese also include the eyes. We send so many non-verbal cues when we are communicating. What are the facial expressions? What body language is being displayed? What is the other person trying to tell you with a glance, folded arms and so many other silent signals?

Add in the heart.  When you listen with your heart, you can hear the emotions. You can feel what the other person is saying.

Your mind helps you to think about and understand what you are hearing.

To me, the last two elements of the character are what ties it all together.

Being present is so critical to good listening because if you aren’t “there” with the other person you are going to miss most of what he/she has to say.

And lastly, focus. Without undivided attention, you are wandering and can’t give someone your very best listening skills.

I have written several blogs about listening.

Don’t Bother Me … I’m Not Listening

Test Yourself – How Well Do You Listen?

Listening with your Eyes

Listen with an Open Mind

And it always helps me to revisit why its so very important … so “what did you say?” doesn’t happen to me.


P.S. Thank-you to Eléa Faucheron for this beautiful graphic. Her website is

Print Friendly

No comments yet

Leave a Reply