Listening to understand – it’s what our country and society needs the most right now
Can you hear me now? No, this is not an old commercial for a cell phone company. This is about how we listen to other people. Unfortunately, on average we are very bad listeners. We listen to talk instead of listening to understand.
That is a very important differentiation. We are so filled with so much information and so many opinions that it is just waiting to bubble right out of us. Instead of seeking to really understand the other person, we just cannot wait for the other person to finish such that we can jump in with our stuff. It’s got to be said. Or does it?
Please help stop this craziness. Make a habit to take a deep breath and wait before saying anything when another person is speaking especially in a group of people. Ask yourself if any input of yours will make the others better off. Resist the urge and say nothing if you cannot add value to the conversation. Seek to understand what is being said. More importantly focus on what isn’t being said. Finally, use challenging questions to get information from the others to get to a decent understanding about the issues at hand. Ask questions that cannot be answered with a Yes or No.
Never waste a good chance to really understand another person. All it takes is silence on your part. Whom and when to ask is another line item to think about.