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Listening is Free

- by Kaari Allen

“Being heard and understood is one of the greatest desires of the human heart.”

— Richard Carlson

Talking WITH others VS Talking AT others

The Good Lord gave us two ears and only one mouth for a reason. Back in the day, I’d tell my students, “I need all of you to put your mouth on airplane mode.” At first, they would look at me like I had three heads, but then they would smile and become quiet. As Dan Cole - The Common Man on KFAN sports radio jokes, “I’m not really listening to you, I’m just waiting for my turn to talk.”

Active listening is crucial for receiving the correct intention, meaning and information.

According to Credit Donkey,, which is a conglomerate of researchers, editors, and analysts that publish information and tips to help you make better decisions; we spend 70-80% of our day communicating in some way and 55% of that is listening. If we can practice receptive, calm, and caring communication at least once a day, even for a moment, don’t you think we could build harmony and peace so much sooner?

Fifteen years ago, I attended yet another mandatory teacher professional development day. Mind you, after leaving the classroom, I have become one of the presenters at a few of these, so I will hold my tongue because I know it is hard to sit for that long and listen or engage. At times, these Talking/Listening/Sitting, 8-hour Cognitive Triathlons (AKA ‘Growth Opportunities’) were an exercise in watching the clock until the lunch break. However, there was an amazing exercise regarding communication that we were required to attend at one of these and, to this day, I still try to practice what I learned.

We had to partner up (yeah, I know, like in 4th grade), and take turns talking for 2 minutes straight. Then we would switch to become the listener to the other for 2 minutes straight about whatever topic we wanted. It was an invaluable practice that I have used in my personal life as well. Humans crave being truly heard. We can then feel valued, respected, and build trusting relationships whether it be in our personal or professional lives.

Another 'talking with’ practice I recommend would be to eliminate these two phrases from our collective vocabularies: ‘You Should’ and ‘I Just Assumed.’ Think about it, neither of these are helpful nor respectful.

Active listening is FREE but damaging communication can be COSTLY. Just my 2 cents. We don’t always have to agree with each other and sometimes we won’t, but we can allow each other to be heard.

Thank you for ‘listening’ and now I’ll put my mouth, and my words on airplane mode so I can listen, and I can truly hear.


PS - Feel free to share your ideas and feelings about active listening. I’m all ears!


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