When we hear without truly listening, holding effective discussions will definitely suffer. Many of us just wait for others to stop talking so that we may talk without listening to a word they say. We actually seem to think talking is more important than listening. Effective communication is much more than just being good talkers.
I once read about a study that stated we hear half of what is being said, listen to half of what we hear, understand half of it, believe half of that, and remember only half of that. If you translate those assumptions into a one-hour meeting, here is what it would mean:
- You spend half your meeting, about thirty minutes, in listening activities.
- You hear about fifteen minutes’ worth of what is said.
- You actually listen to about eight minutes of that.
- You understand only four minutes of the total hour.
- You believe only two minutes’ worth.
- And you remember one minute of all that is said.
When we are together, we need to encourage, value and build good listening skills. What most people really want is to be heard, respected and understood. By learning to listen intently, we learn to hear both the spoken and unspoken messages of others.
Consider this wonderful Cherokee proverb about the value of listening: “Listen to the whispers, and you won’t have to hear the screams!”
I care, Barb