Listen up

I just finished viewing Julian Treasure’s TED Talks lecture entitled “5 Ways to Listen Better.”
Treasure says “we are losing our listening,” thanks to competing demands on our attention, including cellphones, email and ambient noise, to name three of many culprits.

It got me thinking.

If Treasure’s assertion is true, what is its implication for our businesses?

If our staffers “only retain 25 percent” of what they hear, how can we make sure they hear the information that will help our company excel? Imagine what would happen to our market share if we heard 100 percent of what our clients and customers were telling us. And many a workplace misunderstanding has resulted from one party thinking she heard something that actually was never said.

If we’re not listening, then what are we doing when someone else is talking? My guess is we’re residing fully inside our own head, thinking where we’d like to go to lunch, wondering if we’ve set the DVR properly to record our favorite show and the most egregious of all, planning what we’ll say next. I’m guilty of this. When one of my sons says something to me, I frequently respond, “What?” even though I heard the statement. I just wasn’t paying attention.

On its most basic level, this listening disconnect prevents us from engaging in the world and creating meaningful interactions with those we care about.
Here’s a site with listening exercises specific to the business world:

Try some of them out and let me know what happens when you do. I’m all ears.