There’s no question you’re facing the most competitive and challenging business environment of any generation. As someone committed to generating a career which thrives, my intention is to stop you wasting your time fixing any other skill until you get listening right. Expanding your capacity in this one skill alone will carry you into your business future powerfully.
Perhaps after seeing the title you’re saying: “I’ve got this wired, so I’ll give myself a pass. I don’t need to read this.” Well, you’re not alone in assuming you’re a good listener. In fact, you fit right in with a study by Wright University where over 8,000 people found virtually all of the respondents believe they listen as effectively as or more effectively than their co-workers.
Is this true in your experience? Is almost everyone you converse with a great listener? I don’t think so!
Before we dismiss this topic too rashly, let’s zero in on statistics that just may have you changing your mind. Estimates maintain hourly employees spend 30 percent of their time listening, while managers often spend 60 percent, and executives 75 percent or more. So, obviously your listening abilities are no small matter for reaching the most senior levels of the organization. Actually, it’s judged listening accounts for roughly 40 percent of your professional salary.
The irony is, despite how significant listening is to your success, less than 2 percent of people have had any formal education on the topic!
If the above statistics don’t have you interested in upping the ante on your listening skills, the results you’ll produce just may alter your thinking. What are they?
- You’ll get more information from those around you.
- You’ll increase the trust you generate.
- You’ll reduce conflict in your sphere of control.
- You’ll improve any possible biases you may have.
- You’ll inspire higher levels of commitment and engagement.
Not bad from developing one skill set!
Unfortunately, in our fast-paced, conflicting-priority world, halfheartedly listening has become a fine art. We tune out to think about all the work piled on our desk, the proposal still needing to be written, what we’re cooking for dinner. And then, we quickly tune back into the conversation, picking up a few sentences, and tune out once again. Since the brain can listen much faster (450 words per minute) than we’re able to talk (125 to 175 words per minute), it is possible to use your magnificent thinking machine, the brain, to become an excellent listener. Nevertheless, as amazing as your processing system is it is overloaded with all the avalanche of information and distractions you face daily.
Yes, to excel as an active listener is no easy task. It requires:
- slowing your brain down to be entirely present-in-the-moment,
- carefully tuning in to receive with both ears,
- paying attention to every word spoken (7 percent of the meaning),
- noting facial expressions (55 percent of the meaning), as well as your tone of voice (38 percent of the meaning),
- holding your wandering thoughts at bay,
- And most certainly stop rehearsing in your head that erudite gem you’re prepared to interject next!
Umm, what are you thinking? As I said, not easy and yet the results will be well-worth your attention and efforts. Are you convicted to start improving your listening competency? That would be a win for both of us!
Give me a call and let’s talk about LISTENING!