Listening IS a Skill

How are your listening skills? Are they well honed? Or are they dull from lack of use?

Here’s why I ask.

Overheard conversation in a store – employee with supervisor.

Employee: Well, since you can’t schedule me to return this week, I’m sort of taking advantage of the extra time. I have to go to a funeral for a family member.

Supervisor: (Laughs) Oh, that’s very ni… oh, I’m sorry for your loss. Feel better, see you next week.

Now, I realize that I don’t know the whole story. However, the supervisor clearly wasn’t listening. Didn’t appear to even care what the employee was saying. But it is safe to say the listening skills are lacking.

Keep this in mind – whether it’s for your business or any other one-to-one communication – you need to listen to what the person is telling you. You simply just can’t hear what a person is saying. I mean, while you’re sitting there reading this if there’s any noise in your background you’re hearing it not listening.

Of course many people don’t seem to know the difference between hearing a person and listening to a person. OK, what’s the definition?

Hearing is a noun meaning the faculty or sense by which sound is perceived, the act of perceiving sound.

Listening is a verb (used without object) meaning to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing.

Now after reading the definitions you can see that one can hear another person only because they perceive a sound. Listening requires action. One must attend closely to know what is being said, or what is going on at the time.

It’s along the lines of your Mother asking “Are you listening to me?” Generally meaning you had better be paying attention to what she’s saying! Versus, “Did you hear me?”

The best way to develop people skills (and we all need them), is to have well honed listening skills.

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