Talking about listening – is anyone listening?

Today I discovered Tom Peters’ great YouTube video on the importance of listening:

And it set me thinking. Tom Peters is a very major name in the business world. He’s saying it very clearly: “The single most significant strategic strength that an organisation can have is… a commitment to strategic listening.”

So why does it seem as if nobody is listening to the truth about listening?

My research of recent weeks and months suggests that most people think they are already listening well. They don’t realise they are just like the doctors who interrupt after an average of 18 seconds. The poor listener is always somebody else they know!

Most people have not experienced effective listening. They don’t know what effective listening looks, sounds or feels like – whether as the speaker or the listener.

Most people have not been trained to listen. And of the few who have had some training, a proportion will have been told that “active listening” involves continuous evaluation of what the person says – so they are too busy concentrating on their own opinions to hear anything at all.

People are afraid that listening means giving up control of the conversation, and handing the floor to someone else. They don’t realise that effective listening can be one of the most effective persuasion tools there is – a vital weapon for the professional communicator.

Are you listening yet?

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