Today I was reminded about one of the most important elements to communication – listening. It is not something that we spend much time on and has been seriously neglected in a world focused on broadcasting messages. I would ask you to think about a time when you have listened seriously and with a complete focus.
I imagine it will be a challenge as most of the time when we are in conversation we are thinking about what we are going to say rather than actively listening. Within meetings we may switch off unless the subject matter has a direct impact on us or we wait for our chance to speak.
Social media has brought some wonderful benefits to modern life but it can also make people focused on broadcasting what they want to say. It is more important, for me, when using social media to invest the time in listening to what people are saying. Don’t always dive in and try to spread your message, instead take time to understand what others are saying.
If we are active listeners we can learn so much. We can hear what is important to people, and we can understand different perspectives. We can use the information to improve and adapt what we do based on newly gained knowledge. And we can ensure we are having better conversations.
I know I don’t always practice listening skills and I have been known to indulge in too much talking or broadcasting. But I am determined to remain focused on improving my listening skills in all circumstances. If I listen properly I can learn more and it will ultimately improve my life. I also don’t want to become one of those people who shouts the loudest to get hard, likes the sound of their own voice so will talk over others, or who likes th sound of their own voice.