Doug’s expertise and coaching clarified many issues that I struggled with.  No longer do I get intimidated by a big goal.  I have learned to trust the process and use your own gifts and abilities to achieve success.  Doug became a
good friend and the experience was unlike any other out there!  Thank you Doug!


~ Dorothy Fojtik

The Ten Things that Great Listeners Avoid



For years we ChildListeninglgwho have worked with the Og Mandino Leadership Institute have been asking the question to thousands of people, “When was the last time you felt truly safe and understood in a conversation?” There were lots of long moments of silence. Most could not respond. A few would refer to three or four years ago they had one because it was so life-changing and rare that they would never forget it.

Consider what Steve Shapiro said about how effective listening affects the quality of our lives:


Your quality of Life is determined by the quality of your relationships. Your quality of relationships is determined by the quality of your communication. Your quality of communication is directly linked to your ability to effectively listen.

Become Aware 

Here are 10 brief descriptions of what listening is not:

  1. Tell It……Now! You are talking and you can tell their mind is totally occupied with what they are going to say as soon as you are done.
  2. Break In! Before you even finish your story they break in and share their “more exciting” story.
  3. O.P.P. Solving Other People’s Problems/Fix it for them.
  4. The “Me” Factor: Everything you talk about they turn it back to them.
  5. Brush Off: You talk about a serious problem or concern and they say something like “it will work out” or “you will do just fine”.
  6. My Way or No Way! Have to be Right: fight to the finish!
  7. I Heard Everything You Said…. As they continue working or watch the game….
  8. The Finishing Statement: Finishing people’s sentences for them.
  9. Over Reacting: You share a concern about a policy with the boss and immediately you are told exactly what you will do and the deep consequences that will follow if you don’t.
  10. Mind Reading: You say or do something and they assume they know what your intentions were for doing it.

Act on What You Know

Being aware of “what listening is not” allows you to now begin to take action.  Growth can only come when there is awareness and consistent practice of what we know.  So, if you do any of the above, and we all do at times, then I suggest the following:


I know this is easy to say and difficult to do.  These are all habits that most of us have had for years that we have mirrored from watching others as we were growing up.

If you could have put band-aids on my tongue I would have used many boxes as I was creating new habits of listening.

Start today!

Take one of these areas that you may be struggling with and for one day become aware of how often it surfaces in your conversations. Replace the habit by listening and when appropriate ask intuitive questions. Also, listen for what people are really saying and why.  Be patient, but with practice you will be amazed at how it affects your relationships.

One of the most powerful and effective tools I have used in developing strong relationships through learning how to truly connect with people in a very genuine and authentic way is to mind-map your habits of thinking that drive behaviors and attitudes.  If you would like more information about this go to

How do you feel when someone is really not listening to you? And what have you done to change some of these habits? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Doug Stoddard

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