Are You Listening?

Have you ever worked with or for someone who wants people to think they know it all? More importantly, have you ever assumed that role? I have definitely worked with and for people like that, and to be honest there have been times where I found myself acting the same way. It is not a pretty picture, no matter which end you are on.

How Do You Learn?

Whether you are a visual, auditory, or tactile learner, one of your primary ways of learning is by listening to others. You may be listening with your ears, reading what they have written, of touching what they have made, but you are still “listening” to them.

Why Does That Matter?

Nobody knows everything. If we are to continue to grow, it is critical that we have a heart for learning. That means we have to be deliberately listening and doing so willfully. It is far too easy to think we already know what someone is saying, and that can cause us to miss critical communication.

Clarity is Critical

No matter how hard we try to understand and be understood, we often make assumptions that are incorrect. It is crucial to understand others. That means we sometimes need to put what they say in our own words and ask if we understand correctly. Remember we all come from different backgrounds and as such have our own presuppositions and yes, even prejudices that color and distort our thinking. If someone is asking a question, be sure you understand it. It is a waste of time to answer a question that was not really the one asked.

Seek Understanding

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This is great advice if we are to communicate clearly. Again, if we don’t understand, we cannot respond appropriately. You have probably heard it said, “The good Lord gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.” The Bible expresses that same idea this way in James 1:19, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” In general, listen more than you talk. You will learn a lot and avoid unnecessary anger. Now I realize that sometimes by virtue of positions or roles this is not always possible, but it is still generally excellent advice.

There are several ways to do this and they all require deliberateness on our part.

  1. Hold our tongue as long as possible and allow others to finish their thoughts
  2. Seek clarification and listen. Seek it again if we still don’t understand
  3. Take time to learn. Read a lot and listen to those further along than us.
  4. Listening to those we think know less may surprise us
  5. Take time to respond and consider using questions as part of our response
  6. Use questions to understand the presuppositions someone holds
  7. If time allows, prepare before we communicate. If not, then be extra careful to only communicate as fact what is known as fact

Generally when I write a blog it is prompted by something I read or heard. Before I write it, I try to research some of the thoughts of others. Sometimes doing this will change the whole direction of the blog because I have learned something new.

I think if we all spent more time listening we could reap monumental benefits in our business and personal lives.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.

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