“What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
You may not remember or maybe were not born yet when this phrase was popularized in the movie Cool Hand Luke in 1977.
The sad fact is even though this phrase was memorialized in the movie, communication failures have been a problem for humans for a long, long time. In my experience as a counselor and coach, I have heard “He(She),(They) don’t communicate with me” many times. Communication failures are cited as a leading reason for toxic work cultures, marriage failures, racial and societal frictions.
The purpose of this short blog isn’t to give you the quick solution. Learning effective communication is hard work but crucial to all relationships. We do need to look at one major part of this failure. That part is our education and upbringing, most of us have had speech and writing classes – maybe even debate. Few of us have had a course or training in becoming an effective listener. I think the belief (myth) is that we just “become” effective listeners The truth is, we really model what we saw growing up, good or bad.
Listening is too important of a skill to be left to chance. If we don’t listen to others, we don’t respond appropriately or accurately.
Learning to listen more effectively can be done with intentional practice. Leadership expert Dr.John Maxwell states that “Listening is not just a skill it is a discipline.”
Are you interested in being a more effective listener?
Here is a quick exercise to take the first step to start becoming a more effective listener.
Step 1. Take a 3 x 5 card and write on it
Step 2. Now scramble the letters as above.
That’s right. The starting point of becoming an effective listener is to be SILENT!
Step 3. Keep this card with you as a reminder as you communicate with others in your life.
Practice silence as someone speaks.
It is a reminder of what Stephan Covey said in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
This is the first part of becoming a more effective listener.
Contributed by: John Hackett, Ed.D.
John Hackett, Ed.D. is an accomplished and experienced coach, trainer, and leader in a variety of educational and other nonprofit and direct sales settings. He has 46 years of professional experience serving as professor, licensed counselor, and high school administrator, as well as a university administrator. John is a Certified Trainer and Coach with the Direct Selling World Alliance. He can be contacted at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.His cell is 815-690-7444
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