“Many people may listen, but few people actually hear.” – Harvey MacKay
As a kid, I would listen to my parents tell me I have one mouth and two ears so that I could listen twice as much as a I talked. It took me a long time to understand the difference between listening and hearing what people are saying. It has taken me even longer to put it into practice. The ability to hear what people are saying makes a big difference to understanding what they are saying. Obvious and Subtle cues to a persons meaning can only be seen when we are focused on the other person. Not when we are thinking about what we are going to say next or staring out the window. Stephen Covey teaches about “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood”. This is Habit 5 in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People … a very good read. He relates a story about 2 scientists trying to get funding for a project as they presented their material they noticed that the board was waffling. They stopped and asked questions and then addressed the concerns. Once they understood the boards concerns and addressed them they received their funding.