How often do you listen… I mean really listen when someone speaks to you? Do you clear your mind and take in what the other person is saying?
Or are you like most of us, your mind racing to create a plausible response?
Listening properly and fully understanding the other person’s meaning is a vital skill, especially in business. The good news? It’s an easy skill to learn.
The Importance of Being a Good Listener
Imagine you’re in a cruise boat, motoring up a river. On the right is a pristine rainforest, untouched by humans. On the left, the rainforest has been cleared for logging… a desolate, barren landscape, a sad wasteland of destruction.
You’re sitting on the right side of the boat, gazing in wonder at the incredible rainforest. You don’t bother standing up and checking out the view to the left, you just assume it must be the same.
By the end of the cruise, you’re in awe of the beauty of this place… totally unaware of the destruction on the left side of the river.
You only have half the story.
The same goes for listening. If you don’t listen closely to what someone is saying, you fill in the gaps with assumptions. And by default, those assumptions will confirm your thoughts, your ideas, and your biases.
You haven’t “seen” the full idea or message the speaker was trying to convey. Rather, you’ve backfilled their message with your own ideas.
Misunderstanding and confusion inevitably follows. How many times has someone said, “But I told you about that” or “Haven’t I already explained this to you?”
It’s a sure sign you need to hone those essential listening skills. So how can we become better listeners?
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