Shut Up and Listen! Are you LISTENING?

Are You Really Listening, or Talk?

As I begin to think about this topic on listening and what I’d like to say, I know there are many who will think this is a message is for them. Well, it isn’t but if you feel that way, maybe you need to read on.

In a world of technology, we have become creatures of instant gratification and we are inundated with information. Is it any wonder we have the attention span of a pea? We are constantly distracted but technology, such as our phones, or computer.  Is it any wonder we struggle to stay focused and really listen to a conversation?

Listening travels at the speed of light. Spoken in 600 milliseconds and your brain can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds.

Listening is a skill

Our brains can think of a word, apply the rules of grammar to it and send it to the mouth in 600 milliseconds and your brain can identify images in as little as 13 milliseconds.

Psychology Today says, “Research has found that active listening helps focus on understanding others and also improves our relationships by promoting trust, reducing conflict, and increasing our ability to motivate and inspire those with whom we’re communicating.”

But what if technology is not at fault? Dutch writer and professor Henri Nouwen once wrote:

“Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond…The beauty of listening is that those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends.”

When someone else is talking we have a tendency to start formulating an answer in our head and therefore not really hearing what is being said. We miss fundamental points, we stop actually listening and asking questions at this point because we want to say something.

Listening as a skill. Communication is more than talking, it is listening

Listening is a skill that needs to be developed and practice every day. Research shows that only about 10 percent of us listen effectively. I would argue it is lower than that but hey I am not a researcher.

I will leave you with one of my favourite children’s books I used to read to my kids. It can still be found on Amazon it is called Gabby, by Stephen Cosgrove (Author),‎ Robin James (Author),  and the book teaches a valuable lesson to children about listening. In my opinion, this book should be left on every coffee table, desk, in waiting rooms and given out as gifts. Trust me the book is not just for children.

Do you have someone you know that could use this message? Be sure to share.

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