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Listening is More Than Hearing

Categories: Business Communication, Listening Skills

So many people like to talk.   

I sure do.

In fact, I do it all the time. 

On the other hand so few like to actually listen -- I will admit I am occasionally challenged to really listen or listen well. 

Statistically speaking, we spend more time listening in a day than speaking, yet we don’t often do it well (just ask your family!). Usually, it’s not on anyone’s top to-do list for training.

But, that may be changing. In the last few months we have seen a steady increase in clients asking for listening skills training.

Perhaps there were relationships, opportunities, and revenues that were lost as the result of poor listening. Maybe at the root of our relationship problems this fundamental communication skill is missing.

Last week, I delivered a listening workshop, which included a combination of activities, skills and exercises to practice. There was also an online assessment, which showed each participant’s preferred (or natural) listening style.  The district and regional sales managers in my session had so many “aha” moments that they couldn’t wait to get back and adjust their style at work – as well as at home.

Since I also took the assessment, I, too, had some major insights. For example, at work I tend to listen purposefully – in a very task-oriented way – and pay less attention to the empathy factor (and completely fail to listen for enjoyment).

It does make sense, however, that my staff needs as much empathy and appreciation as I give my clients and friends. I am committed to improving my listening with my team. You can e-mail them and see if they have noticed a difference!

So do I think effective listening be taught? Yes I do!

It isn’t complicated, but it does require a commitment to use more than just our ears.

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