“To hear … is to not to be deaf…” He continued: “But to listen, is about really trying to understand.”
“What is the difference between hearing and listening?” I asked my youngest son. He just turned six, and autumn leaves fluttered in yellow and orange outside the kitchen window of our home.
“That’s easy.” Milton Said. “To hear … is to not to be deaf…” He continued: “But to listen, is about really trying to understand.”
I turned to him and said: “My son, welcome to the company!”
Many people can hear. They can register sound waves from music, the wind, spoken words, traffic and so on. Listening however, is rarer.
Listening requires much more. You must be attentive and present. In all human interactions of good quality, you have people who are actually listening. Whether it is in the kitchen, during a walk, in the conference room, or on a big stage. In bad meetings, howeverpeople tend to hear, but not listen.
What is the favorite topic for most of us to talk about then? Answer: Ourselves. And once we get someone who attentively listen to us, we will be delighted. We want to be seen and heard. It’s a fundamental need.
Great sales people are great listeners. Great friends are great listeners. Great managers are great listeners. A recent study in Sweden showed that managers ability to listen was regarded as the most important quality according to the thousands of employees, participating in the study.
How are you doing when you meet other people? Do you fiddle around with the phone? Looking over their shoulders to see if you can find someone more important to talk to? Do you hear the sound waves and the words, but not more? Or are you fully present and interested rather than interesting?
Be interested instead of interesting.And the interesting thing is that you then become interesting.
The best way to listen to someone is to shut up. Both in speech and thought. It is a challenge. To quiet that voice inside. Try anyway. It interferes with your presence.
Listen on the right level. You can listen on multiple levels. Keywords (not good), whole sentences (better), and with both ears and eyes, i.e. observing body language, the tonality of the voice etc. (best).