Karl A. Menninger
Listening is really the key to understanding and therefore to success. When we think of listening, we think of the ear. Yes, hearing is a physiological process that takes place in the ear. Real listening though is done with the mind — we focus, we pay attention to the speaker, we shut off distracting thoughts and we work to understand the message. Companies are demanding better communication skills from their new hires. Listening is a primary communication skill, the one we use most often in fact. Success comes from really listening, whether it is in a professional setting or something more personal like listening to the spouse, a friend or even our bodies. How often does our body tell us we need to slow down and rest for a bit, but we keep on pushing to get the job done. I’m working on this one, seriously!
In a culture that often requires multi-tasking, focusing on what is being said falls by the wayside. Without focus and attention, listening for understanding and connection is lost; the relationship suffers. As this post was percolating, I paid attention to how people listened, including myself. I realized how often I had to repeat myself or asked others to do the same. I had to wonder if it was about how well we were, or were not, listening.
Like everything else, it is a process of focusing, paying attention, turning off any distractions and turning on to the message being sent. Good luck and much success!