“Mom, you are not listening to me”….”Mom, let me finish….” . Guilty! I hear this more often than I prefer to admit. Before my little 4 foot tough guy has the chance to share his whole story with me or his current dilemma, I already have the answer. I have solved his problem! Or so I think. As a recruiter, I advise our candidates to remember the “80/20” rule during an interview….Listen 80% of the time and speak just 20%. I need to heed my own advice!
In the fast paced world we live in today, with all its technology and gadgets and distractions, the art of communication (aka: listening) is fading fast. This stands true both in the workplace and at home. We are so busy doing 2 or 3 things at one time, or in a rush to be somewhere else, that we are not giving our full attention to the conversation or problem at hand. We are in a rush to resolve the problem and move on to the next task.
On average, we retain just 25% of what we hear. This is a direct result of being busy and lack of listening skills. Listening critical skill Listening is crucial to gaining a complete understanding of any situation. We need to slow ourselves down. We need to step away from our computers and tablets, put down our smartphones and look our audience straight in the eye. Be present. Be in the moment. Keep quiet and hear with our inner ear. Let them share their story, their thoughts without interruption or opinion or resolution. This will build trust with our audience. They will feel validated. Respected and heard.
When I do give my undivided attention to my little guy and hear his story or dilemma without interrupting, I can see his eyes gleam with excitement and satisfaction. He feels heard and understood. This is usually enough for him. Most of the time he was not looking for my advice or approval, he just wanted to talk about the problem. He wanted me to listen.