Think about the last time you were talking to someone and they were paying attention. They seemed to be interested. They were “connected” with you and “in the moment”. This is to say they were actually listening. If you’re lucky enough to have had that experience recently, how’d that make you feel? I’ll bet most of you are saying things like “honored”, “respected”, “cared about”, “relieved” or even “shocked”. I get that. And anyone that has an audience of one or more gets it, too.
You see, I think with the fast pace of society, social networking, texting, etc…, we’ve lost touch with the importance and the “art” of listening. It takes commitment and time to decipher the words and emotions of the message. It also takes effort to figure out what might be an underlying meaning of the message.
The words are the facts. It’s what they say. The emotion is what’s going on for them in that moment or how they feel about the message. Studies show that this is most of the message is contained therein. The underlying meaning might be something they haven’t said for one reason or another, but wanted to say. Some might call it a “hidden agenda”. Most of us seem to have these agendas when speaking with someone so it’s important to consider this as part of the overall message.
Bottom line – as leaders, we need to take the time to listen to or pick up on all three parts of the message if we are to have an “approachable” reputation. And when we do, people will be more willing to tell us what we need to know, not just what we want to hear.
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