Active listening for effective communication

Managing and communicating well is greatly dependent on listening. Not just ordinary, everyday listening but intentional, active listening.

It turns out that when we are listening there is an 8 second buffer at work. In other words, we can be watching tv or doing something and someone can be speaking to you.

You may not be actively listening but if the person accuses you of not listening you can go back 8 seconds and recall what that person was saying.

This is the only sense which has this feature. Sight, smell don’t.

The problem with this feature of the sense of hearing is you can drift through life quite comfortably relying on this passive, recall feature of your listening.

If you are managing or communicating or seeking to persuade or influence this is not good enough.

You must engage in active listening. Listening with the eyes, and all the senses.

Yes, you listen with your eyes, too. Watching the face, the eyes, discovering what they say and are they inconsistent with the words.

Relying on the words alone is not enough when you are listening.

Real listening is about empathy (putting yourself in the others shoes), not sympathy (how would I feel if that happened to me?).

Communication is about moving from a state of “what do I want to say?” to a state of “what do you need to hear?”