“Do you hear the words that are coming out of my mouth?”

Some of you may recognize this as a line from a once popular movie. In the context of the movie, it was funny. In the real world, the question should be are you listening to what is being said to you? Why? Because hearing and listening are two different things.

Hearing is basically the act of perceiving and receiving sound waves through the ear. Listening is hearing the sound and processing it – understanding it, interpreting it and putting meaning to it. Hearing is a physical ability while listening is a skill.

Good listening skills are just as important as good speaking skills. Everyone wants to talk but how many of us really take time to listen? We’re busy, we’re distracted, we’ve heard it before, it’s noisy, there’s too much activity going on and the list goes on. If we’re not careful, everything starts to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher – “waah, wah, wah, wah, wah waah.”  We need to be aware that there are consequences to not listening and they can be costly. Messages are not conveyed properly, misunderstandings increase, instructions are misinterpreted, and arguments ensue, productivity decreases, accidents happen.

Really listening is a critical business skill. It can create business and personal relationships, bring about understanding, solidify teams, helps close sales, expands learning, and can save time and money – you get the picture.

Which category are you in; a good listener or a not so good listener? To truly be successful requires listening, really listening to what is being said. If your listening skills need some work, now is the perfect time to take them to the next level. It can make all the difference in the world.

I will leave you with this quote from Andre Gide – “Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.

Think about it.

Posted by MJ Thomas

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