Being male, I quite often am told I don’t listen or have selective hearing or, sometimes that I am deaf. I am guilty sometimes of paying more attention to my answer than listening to the person speaking. True listening is blocking my responses until the person has finished. My response should only take place when I have digested what the person has said and then responding accordingly.
Listening also involves understanding what the person means by what they have said. If you are not sure, it is up to you to clarify with them to make sure you are both on the same page.
Another area that misses its mark sometimes is reading. Send out an e-mail asking someone to do four things. You write a paragraph stating the four things you want and get a response back with only one or two of them. It seems that human nature dictates that as soon as you hit the first item, you do it and as a result ignore the fact that there are four things to do.
This is similar to the university test that asks you to read the questions to the end of the test. The majority failed as they started answering the questions at the beginning of the test. The last instruction at the end of the test states that you are not to answer any of the questions, put your name on the paper and put your pencil down.
When you send an e-mail with a request for four things to be done, identify the four with numbers, or letters so that they are identified. This will not guarantee that the recipient will get it right but will likely get them past number two.
Our communication, whether in business or with a loved one can be critical to the success of the message or request. Even in business the way we communicate has become less formal. Years ago there was always a paper trail. Now, the trail can be difficult to follow, and details of communication become muddy as technology takes on many forms.
Just as in handwritten communication, not everyone is at the same place when it comes to the use of technology. To communicate effectively, you need to know your audience. Sometimes it is better to just better to pick up the phone or walk across the hall and talk to them in person!
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