I was watching a re-run of “Will and Grace” the other night and heard the following paraphrased conversation:
Grace: I keep having this recurring dream over and over and over again.
Jack: Hhhmmm…is this the first time you’ve had this dream?
That moment totally cracked me up, because Jack was staring into her eyes, finger on chin, acting very interested. Of course his words revealed that he hadn’t heard her at all. I would venture to say that we’re all guilty of this type of listening – especially in today’s world where beepers and buzzers and blinking red lights are constantly kidnapping our attention. So, why should we listen? Because our success just might depend on it.
The fact is that beepers, buzzers and red lights are part of our life today – and I would say contribute to a lack of listening but do not cause it. Following are the two barriers to listening that I see (or am guilty of) most often:
There are multiple other listening gaps that we’ll discuss next week, but until then try this simple rule:
Listen as if your success depends on it.
Gauge your success not by what you say but by the amount of information you find out about the other person. Watch a company leader you admire or respect. Odds are, they sit quietly in meetings and listen. Eventually, they share an idea that adds value and gets to the heart of an issue. How do they do it? They listen first, and speak only when they add value. Try it. Others will like it:).