Good Listening: A Key to Improving Your Memory

Do you think you are a good listener?  In order to remember something that was spoken, you have to give it your full attention. So many things compete for our attention and if you are doing something else at the same time, become distracted or are involved with one of your electronic devices, it is likely that part of the message may not have been heard accurately. The person with a hearing loss often misses some words, making it more difficult to recall what was heard. Verifying what was said is an important tool for anyone who is hard of hearing.   You should consider doing the same thing if you realize you were not giving something your full attention.

In her book, The Zen of Listening, Rebecca Z Shafir, states that “poor listening gets in the way of getting things done effectively.”  She talks about her students who are complaining about losing their ability to concentrate and are forgetting names and details.  “Listening is one of our greatest personal resources, yet it is by far one of our most underdeveloped abilities.”

Begin to notice whenever your attention drifts when someone is talking to you. Instead of preparing what you are going to say next, refocus on the speaker’s words. Put down what you are doing if you are totally preoccupied with something else. If it is an important conversation and you cannot give it your full attention, suggest you talk at a later time.  Begin to observe the patterns you have developed over the years. It is the starting place for making some changes where necessary.

“So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively,
then you are listening not only to the words,
but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed,
to the whole of it, not part of it.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti

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About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters ( and Communication Connection( She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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