Hi, How often do you need to ask someone to repeat something? How often do you have to repeat yourself to others? Where did your mind go right now? You were thinking, correct. Which means you weren't listening. Luckily I am not talking and you are simply reading. If I were in front of you I would see that you were elsewhere and I would wait. Obviously you would need a moment if I asked you a question. However, we do the same thing, go off into the recesses of our minds, when no question is asked at all. We drift off, thinking about ourselves, our experiences. While someone is talking to us we make judgements, we get offended, we get excited, we apply everything they are saying to how we feel or think about it as if the world revolved around us.
Well, our world does revolve around us. My world revolves around me and your world revolves around you. For me to hear you I have to come out of my orbit for a bit and listen, hear, repeat and remove myself from what you are saying. If someone is telling you about their sick rabbit you don't want to be thinking about your sick cat at home. Though comparing is nice in certain situations (like the Match game) it isn't actually listening in the aforementioned scenario. Hearing someone means removing yourself and being another ear, an open heart, a sounding board that echoes back what they are meaning. Asking someone how old the rabbit is, what the rabbit is named, how it got sick, how they are feeling, when did they begin keeping rabbits… etc… that is going to bring the person speaking immeasurable comfort. When you are interested in someone, i.e. listening to them, they open up more or at least feel a stronger sense of connection (as long as the questions aren't creepy or invasive (overly private)).
The next time someone talks to you, see how long you can keep yourself out of the conversation (as long as they don't ask you questions about you, that is). See how long you can keep the focus on the person you are speaking to. See what comes when you remove your ego and truly open yourself to being there, listening, hearing someone without the need to be the focus or focused on in any way. We all like attention, we all need it. Start by giving it to others and see what comes.