If asked, most people would consider themselves to be fairly good listeners. In reality, we all absorb much less than we think, and for various reasons. If weighed, talking would tilt the scales over listening because most value it more.
Why don't we listen as well as we think we do? Well, too often we become so involved in our own thoughts that we tune out important information. Or we find ourselves reacting to something that is said and our emotions block out our hearing and we miss the point.
Another cause is that we're just too busy to pay attention. Are you "hearing" this? Does this relate all too well to you? If it does, "listen up" for ways to change that to have a great pay off.
You might just be able to understand assignments and instructions better thus pick up time otherwise lost spinning your wheels. Suddenly people may begin perceiving you as a highly intelligent and sensitive person. You also may develop a somewhat "sixth sense" for listening "between the lines" which may ferret out problem areas.
Some suggestions for fine tuning your listening skills to what is said and what is not said are:
Block out distractors because main points are often missed because full attention has been diverted to something insignificant.
Some interruptions can't be avoided, but by training your reactions their effect can be lessened.
If you realize you're not able to give your full attention to a meeting or a co-worker's explanation of an important issue, then speak up and ask for a rescheduling at a time you will be able to give it your best listening skills.
Well, if you're still paying attention, stop back to my blog next Tuesday to "hear" a few more strategies that pay off personally and professionally.
Judy Warmington, Woman Time Management (owner) -- Busy wife, mother of three adult/married children, grandmother of 10 (5 boys and 5 girls!), former high school teacher (M.A. from W.M.U.), Speaker, Author, Radio Personality, and Trainer of Professional Organizers.