Have you ever thought someone wasn't really listening to what you were saying? Have you ever found yourself not listening to another? To have effective listening skills can make all the difference in a conversation.

Have you ever heard a conversation where one person finishes telling a story and another responds with, “That’s nothing…I’ve got one better” or “You think that’s something…listen to this.”

Rather than listening to what a person is saying, they are just waiting for them to finish, so they can talk. The whole time, instead of listening, they are going over what they want to say. They offer no support or interest to the other person. They usually disagree and always have a better story. It is the instinct of human nature to focus on self and to outdo another. Listening requires discipline.

Do you remember a time when you felt someone was not really listening to you? Do you remember a time when someone had a better story than you, when someone told you, “That’s nothing…” It can leave you wondering why you said anything in the first place. It has happened to all of us and most of us, at least once, have done it.

Everyone has the right to be heard, everyone has something to say that is worth hearing. Listening is an important skill in any conversation. Listening is a skill that requires a lot of practice, a skill that very few come close to mastering. Listening is actually hearing what someone has to say.

Be mindful in the next conversation you have with someone. Observe your listening skills…your timing to talk…be honest with yourself and work on improving where you can. Sometimes, you are the only person someone will have a chance to talk with…make it worth their while. You may never know what a difference your listening will make for them.