The biggest hindrance to improved communication skills is misplaced focus. We tend to focus on all the other people who need to make changes instead of the changes we can make.
"If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change." ~Michael Jackson <<Tweet that>>
I found several great blog posts by writers I admire speaking about the power of listening. You should check out:
Curing The Listening Flu by Mary Jo Asmus
Is Anyone Listening by Ken Blachard's Leadership Chat
Listening Is About Respect by Kent Hutchinson
I even talk about it here and here. All of these post, plus hundred of articles you can Google, implore us and teach us to improve our listening skills. There is even an international organization dedicated to building listening aptitude around the globe!!!
With all these resources one would think we would be better listeners. But there here are two reasons we are not.
Reason One: We believe myths and misconceptions about listening that prevent us from giving it the attention it deserves.
Here are a few:
1. Hearing equals listening.
2. Listening is natural and requires no effort.
3. "I am a good listener because I get the facts straight."
4. "I am a good listener because I don't interrupt."
5. "I don't need to focus on listening, I need to focus on being heard."
5. "Because I listen that means I agree."
6. "Listening means I give permission."
7. Listening is done only with the ears.
8. Listening is nice and all but it doesn't affect the bottom line.
I purposely left 9 and 10 blank. What other myths, ideologies, or misconceptions would you add to this list?
Reason Two: We are obsessed with consuming information but are indifferent about doing anything with said information.
One scripture text encourages us to be doers not just hearers. Regardless of your religious beliefs, there is something to be said of actually doing what you know or learned. Conversely, we brag about how much we know, instead of how much we do.
This is highly problematic because listening is a action word. It has to be done, executed, performed in order to experience its side effects.
If you want to make the world a better place, examine and dismiss the myths you hold about listening and then do what you know! If you don't know good listening skills, learn them and then do them!
What other myths and misconceptions would you add to the list?