Have you ever sat in on a meeting, rehash it moments later with others who were present and discover that none of you left with the same message? I know I have. Communication is such a tricky thing. We are so busy thinking about what our response will be that we barely digest the information just shared. Listening well means letting go of what's on your mind and being present in the conversation, not an easy task for most of us.
More then 35 business studies indicate that listening is a top skill needed for success in business, yet in an article posted on Harvard Business Review, Bronwyn Fryer contends that listening in an endangered skill and I have to agree. We are all in a mode of partial attention because of multitasking. When was the last time you glanced at your own Blackberry or Smartphone during a meeting when you were supposed to be listening (hey, guilty as charged).
I guess we can all do better; here are some statistics about listening that indicates we are not alone.
(Compiled by the International Listening Association.)
:: Most of us are distracted, preoccupied or forgetful about 75% of the time we should be listening.
:: We listen at 125-250 words per minute, but think at 1000-3000 words per minute.
:: Immediately after we listen to someone, we can only recall about 50% of what they said.
Want to know if you're a good listener just ask your kids or your spouse. They know immediately when you are faking it and usually have no problem calling us on it.