Listening is the single most important skill for effective communication.
Listening, or the lack of it, is either responsible for, or contributes to, everything from business failure, political fall out to domestic and romantic disunity.
It is a gift that the majority of people are born with yet many never appreciate, nurture or practice past the age of 5. Revisiting the subject only in dispute arbitration, couple’s councelling or for the fortunate few sales training.
My own personal epiphany occurred when my wife, who was a primary school teacher, declared that her class listened more attentively than I did, and proceeded to prove this with a series of excercises. Suffice to say that the embarrasment alone was enough to stop me taking this for granted again.
To be able to listen attentively, give yourself to your audience in totality and then take and process this information will, without question, not only make you a better communicator it will improve your effectiveness in whatever role you fulfill, and i would go as far as to say it will make you a better person.
It is so common for people to choose not to listen, and simply talk over someone, that when you do listen intently, or actively, as I would suggest (especially on the telephone) that people become unnerved and ask if you are still there.
In a 2013 article, the Huffington Post stated that
“Bill Clinton has a superpower…..” and suggested this was responsible for much of his success in ALL his various ventures.
The reality is that Bill Clinton has perfected the art of listening….and I suggest we should all do the same. Click here to enjoy the article.