Hearing vs Listening: What’s the Difference?

Hearing vs Listening: What’s the Difference?


‘Yo man, I consider myself a bad listener. Any idea why?’

Do you know how to listen?

‘Not really.’

That’s why.


Listening skills are just that…

  • Skills.


When you start putting more emphasis on the word, skills, you begin to take the act more seriously.

Listening becomes more scientific and systematized.


Anyways, your problem is deeper than that.

‘It is??’

Yea. Do you know the difference between hearing vs listening?

‘I thought they were the same thing.’

Nope. Told you. Your problems are deeper.


It’s important to know the difference between hearing vs listening.

Once you spot the difference, you will be on your path towards becoming a better listener.


Hearing vs Listening


Hearing is based on the senses.

Listening is based on the senses & mental faculties.


Hearing is when you pick up audio sounds through your ears.

If you have functioning ears, then hearing is a passive task.

You just need to show up!


On the other hand, listening is when you pick up the audio signals through your ears…

Then you INTERPRET the signals.


This is when you turn the data into information.


Your goal is to extract meaning, understand where the other person is coming from & remain present.

When you think about all the subprocesses required for listening, you’ll see how miraculous of an act it is.

Especially considering that we are doing it in milliseconds.


The mind needs to be present for listening to occur.

That’s difficult nowadays because attention spans are plummeting.


You shouldn’t be sad when someone stopped listening to you.

As a matter of fact, assume most people are hearing & not listening.

Be pleasantly surprised when they are understanding your words.

Because that’s rare nowadays.


The Secret Ingredient to Great Listening


Thus far, we talked about how you hear by just showing up.

Listening requires active effort.


‘How can I increase my active effort? I am trying but I keep getting lost.’

Then the strategy needs some altering.


In my book, Speak Easy: How to be More Articulate, I talk about the art of using curiosity.

Through curiosity, a poor listener becomes magnificent.


Let’s imagine a poor listener who loves to gossip. His name is Mikey.

  • Mikey is often in la-la land in school.
  • He’s off in la-la land when his friends are talking about their day.
  • He’s off in la-la land when his girlfriend is talking about her promotion.


But you know when he’s not off in la-la land?


When he hears gossip that relates to him.


That’s when he is all ears PLUS the mind.

He pays attention.

  1. Humans naturally love hearing gossip. It makes them feel good.
  2. Humans love to hear what others are saying about them. They like to be in the loop.


Suddenly, Mikey becomes a brilliant listener.

The other person who shares the rumor of Mikey is droning on for 3 HOURS.

But Mikey’s focus does not waver.


Curiosity guarantees paying attention but paying attention does not guarantee curiosity.

Focus more on curiosity.

That’s when you’ll spot the difference between hearing vs listening.


How to Listen Better


‘Okay, you’re saying I need to be more curious to listen better, right?’

Yep, that’s right.

‘But how can I be more curious? People are so boring nowadays!’

That’s your ego talking.


From here on out, envision the most boring person you know to be interesting in at least 3 facets of their life.

It’s your goal to find out what those 3 facets are.


I’m not talking about regular interesting.

I’m talking about the kind of interesting that filmmakers make documentaries on.


I knew a kid like that.

He was a guy I used to work with in a driving company.


Before Uber, there was a service called Zingo in Tampa.

It specialized in driving drunk people back to their homes.

Zingo was known for their renowned tiny scooters that would meet the customers.


Before the scooters, 2 of the drivers would go in 1 car to meet the drunk person.

Let’s say the drunk person was celebrating a night out in Applebee’s.


Well, 2 of the drivers would meet him at Applebees.

1 would get out & take the drunk man & his car back home.

The other driver would follow the first driver & pick him up from the customer’s house.

That was the workflow.

(Unlike Uber, with Zingo, the passengers got their car back home with them!)


Anyways, I used to drive with this kid name Terrance.

Boring guy. Rarely would say anything.


When he would talk, he’d put me to sleep.

Slow talker, monotoned, and no fire.


However, one late night, as we were driving around waiting for customers to call us, he told me that he was in prison a few years earlier.

He was convicted in a burglary crime.


At first, I was scared.

He went to prison??

And I’m working with this guy??


But then, I became intrigued.


Terrance became interesting to me.

Not because he went to prison. But because there was something about him that I would have NEVER been able to imagine.


All people are like that to a certain degree.

It’s up to you to find those interesting spots.

That’s what creates compelling conversations.


Practice Leads to Mastery of Listening Skills


Now you know the difference between hearing vs listening.

In a world where people mainly hear, listen.

In a world where people aren’t curious, cultivate curiosity.


It’s a game of practice.

In the beginning stages, it’s hard work to listen.


So let me give you a mental trick.

Remember a person who made you feel heard before.


Think about the level of presence he or she operated with:


Remember how that felt?

‘Yea man, I do. That person really did make me feel like a superstar.’

That person was charismatic.


The beauty is that you can do the same in your grind.

It’s a matter of practicing & cultivating the listening skill set.


The cocky clown makes every interaction about them.

The confident winner makes every interaction about the other person first, and about them, second.


The cocky clown has more social anxiety because they think they need to put on an act.

While the confident winner radiates true charm & nothing short of it.

This is the mental paradigm you want to adopt.


For a more in-depth breakdown into social skills, be sure to check out the Charisma King.


In this eBook, you will learn how to:

-Overcome crippling social anxiety & express yourself with ease.

-Listen with precision & make others feel important.

-Contribute timely points in a conversation to build your charm.




– ArmaniTalks 🎙️🔥


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