It has been said there is a reason God gave us two ears and only one mouth. Listening is a crucial activity yet one we devote so little effort to improving. It is essential for building healthy relationships and successful partnerships. Most of my clients struggle with this part of communication, that is until they develop the proper skills . Listening is one of the most critical characteristics of a good leader and one that takes time to develop properly.We spend 80 percent of our waking time involved in four communications tasks: reading, writing, speaking or listening.
Of these four activities, listening accounts for 50 percent of our communication time. We give little attention to this part of the communication process, simply taking it for granted that everyone knows how to listen. Listening is such a passive activity, we don’t pay attention to it. In fact, most of us find the prolonged concentration required for truly effective listening too hard to maintain.
Consider this: We only retain 25 percent of what we hear. Why?
The average person speaks at about 130 words per minute. Our thinking speed is about 500 words per minute. Consequently, we jump ahead of what is actually being said. This causes our minds to wander and we are actually thinking about other things, such as what we are going to say next.
In upcoming posts, I will be discussing ways to develop good listening skills and how you as a leader and your team can benefit from some simple actions to becoming a more active listener. We would love to hear your ideas on what things interfere with your active listening.