Listening, really listening, is so critical to understanding. Understanding allows us to give more fully, generate insights, and engage in collaboration. Of course, we all listen.
Here’s why I’m bringing this up today. I’ve been noticing that  I am rarely if ever fully listening. Not to my clients (sorry), my friends (sorry) or to my family (triple sorry).
If I’m not listening, what am I doing?
  1. I hear words.
  2. I decide what they mean (in a snap).
  3. And, I begin thinking about one of two things:
    1. What I think about those words, the person, and the situation.
    2. What I’m going to say at the first chance I can create.
I am listening-thinking. I race right past all the questions that would illuminate the persons way of thinking and the richness of the situation or topic.
The big problem is the missed opportunity to understand, learn, and connect. Oh, and when it’s time to offer what I think, my guess is I would be much more effective.
Ok, so I’m not terrible at listening. I could not do my work or have relationships if I were completely incompetent. But I am aware of the value to me of creating a little more focus on real listening. How about you?