There is a never ending plethora of sounds coming from an infinite selection of sources including; aeroplanes, loud background music and even people slurping hot tea! So it is a surprise that we are able to receive and assimilate conversational content at all. From a business perspective, the ability to listen well can be linked to productivity and sales, the question therefore is how can we improve our listening skills?
FACT: We spend 60% of our communication time listening.
FACT: We retain only 25% of what we hear.
FACT: That’s not a good path for us to be headed down.
Julian Treasure a sound and communication expert says listening is “making meaning from sound” and is a “mental extraction”.
We use different tools to listen;
- Pattern recognition – when we hear something specific in a loud room, e.g. our name
- Differencing – discount sounds that remain the same, e.g. monotonous voices
- Unconscious filters – cultural & social, e.g. accents
- Space – with our eyes shut we can work out the size of the room we are in
The Art of Conversation is being replaced by sound-bites through text and social media however conscious listening creates understanding.
5 exercises to improve listening
- Silence – 3 minutes a day will reset and recalibrate your ears
- The Mixer – practice how many channels you can hear in different surroundings
- Savoring – enjoying mundane sounds, i.e. tumble dryer
- Listening Positions – active / passive, reductive / expansive, critical / empathetic
- RASA – Receive / Appreciate / Summarise / Ask
Words can and do get lost in translation.
Better listening will make the difference between a client being able to identify a superstar or a candidate being able to respond effectively to secure their dream job.
CAN YOU HEAR ME?