Having a pair of ears means you can hear, it does not give you a qualification in the art of listening
In the wild, the ability for animals to listen properly saves their lives. In human beings, listening properly will not only save your life but it is an integral part of whether you revel in the hot tub of success, or the cold shower of failure. Being an effective listener will help improve your chances of finding a wonderful partner, having a successful relationship, meeting new friends, excelling academically and in your choice of career. Take a moment to reflect on a time when you have poured your heart out to someone, and then realised that they were not paying the slightest bit of attention. How did it make you feel?
Researchers claim that 75% of all oral communication is quickly ignored, forgotten or misunderstood
Evolution has presented human beings with two ears, but on times you would think they were designed simply to allow sound to pass into one, and then straight out of the other. As usual we only have to dig into our past and have a look at our society to reveal where our problems lie. Despite having to listen more often than we have to sleep, this skill is not taught in school. In fact quite the opposite is true. Everyone knows that the longer someone talks to you, the lower your ability to retain the information will become. So why not barricade these kids into a classroom and lecture to them for two hours…that would make sense!? Then in our home our parents also teach us to do the complete opposite of listening…
Don’t listen to your Dad
Don’t listen to your Mum
Don’t pay any attention to him
Block your ears
Pretend you didn’t hear that
My 2-year old niece Amber was around my house playing this morning. Her mother was telling me how she now says that the battery has gone when her phone turns off, “she must have picked it up from me,” she said. Well we need to remember that she is not only learning to talk from us but also to listen. Kids must think we are crazy. We tell them to shut up, be quiet and to listen, but they see us behaving quite the opposite. We regularly interrupt each other, pay lip service or watch TV while having a conversation. This is how we raise the next generation of incapable listeners.
On a personal level I have always been a terrible listener, while quietly supporting the illusion that I was exceptionally good at it. I believe my inability to listen contributed to the loss of my marriage, impaired my ability as a father and stunted my growth as a leader in business. But all is not lost, because as I keep repeating like a parrot, listening is a learned skill. There are some very clever people in this world that can teach you to become a better listener. People love great listeners and it is great to be loved. So pick up People Skills by Robert Bolton because this is a man who knows how to listen and is a very good teacher as well.
The inspiration for this blog post comes from the People Skills book by Robert Bolton and my niece Amber. If you want to learn how to generate content for blog posts, then books and children are a great source of information – you just have to be looking and listening!
Photo courtsey of Amandabhslater (cc @ flickr.com)