Listening…AGGRESSIVELY; Did You Hear That? By: Michael York

Learning to listen…aggressively!  What does that mean? 

It means you and I have to work at it.  Listening makes up such a large part of the conversation. Communication. It’s been called an Art.

 “The real art of conversation is not so much saying the right thing at the right time. But also leaving unsaid the wrong thing…at the most tempting moment.” 

Listening is communication. 

Listening is understanding.

Listening is a conversation, and it is a large part of the art.

“A pair of good ears will drain dry a hundred tongues.” – Ben Franklin

Not listening aggressively, not really working at, or focused on, listening means that most people think “I’m not talking so I must be listening,” and that’s just not true. 

Most people listen like they’re sitting at a stoplight. “Red, huummpff,…still red… almost, almost…Yep, it’s green now!”  You’re just waiting for that other person to stop… SO YOU CAN GO!

And the very moment you even think they’re about to stop talking… BANG! 

Floor it, gotta get back to doing that thing you do so well, talking! And in many cases they don’t even wait for the person to stop talking, they actually finish the sentence for them!  Or worse, interrupt—and then start talking.

Know anybody like that? 

I’m guessing someone just popped into your mind and you’re smiling right now.

Listen, really listen—aggressively. 

You just might learn something.

You’ll also ensure that more often than not, you’ll actually understand the question. Is that kind of understanding really that important? 

A little boy returned home from his very first day at school to find his mother in the kitchen.

“Mom, where did I come from?” he asked, looking up at mother. 

Stunned, but unwilling to muster some falsehood about storks or otherwise skirt the issue, the young woman knelt down by her little boy and very slowly began to explain the facts of life. 

The youngster waited patiently, letting his mother stumble and stammer through a pained dissertation about men and women and babies, and finally finished with

“Do you understand now son?”  

“I don’t think so, mom. I just wanted to know where I came from. 

My new friend Billy came from Oklahoma.”  

A lesson in listening: Make sure you understand the question!

Really Listen.

Did you know you can listen with your whole being?


That’s right, I said you can learn to listen with your whole being, not just with your ears. Maybe I can explain it like this:

Did you ever say to someone, maybe a child, “Hey, listen to me?” 

Only to have them say, “But I am listening.” And your response…

“Well, you don’t LOOK LIKE YOU’RE LISTENING!” 

That’s right, you can LOOK like you’re listening.

How? By showing interest to the speaker. Try this.

Listen with your eyes…look at the speaker.

Listen with your body…lean forward.

Listen with your face…show facial expressions that convey your interest.

And lastly, listen with your voice. 

Even a simple “hmmm”, or “oh,” or “wow” shows your interest and acknowledges that you hear what the speaker is saying.

Zig Ziglar, the late, great iconic speaker and teacher of SELLING would always refer to his “talking pad” or his notebook where he would make notes; written notes during a conversation with a prospective buyer or customer.

That’s LISTENING AGGRESSIVELY and conveying the message to the other person that you’re HEARING them, and what they have to say is important.

Try LOOKING LIKE YOU’RE LISTENING and see how it works for you.

To Your Big Life!



Michael York is an award-winning and accomplished WRITER, AUTHOR, and SPEAKER who literally wrote the BOOK on Becoming Uncommon (2003).

A CONSULTANT and COACH retained by ORGANIZATIONS for his commitment and contribution to the improvement of HUMAN POTENTIAL, PERSONALLY as well as PROFESSIONALLY.

He is the RADICAL IMPROVEMENT CATALYST behind major advancements with his clients over two decades and the EVIDENCE of his EXPERTISE is confirmed by empirical RESULTS, some of which can be seen at

Michael York
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