Are You Hearing And Listening?
Eric Maddox was a U.S. Army interrogator who collected the intelligence which directly led to the capture of Saddam Hussein. After conducting more than 2,700 interrogations, he became an expert at listening. I saw him speak at a recent breakfast. And I listened.
During his presentation, Maddox pointed out a couple of common traits among humans:
- We can hear so much faster than people can speak.
- We only listen to about 25 percent of what we hear.
He also provided six things that interfere with or distract our listening:
- Immediate things around us, for example: “the lights are bright,” “my shoes are too tight,” “that breakfast was tasty.”
- Significant things that you perceive to be more important than the person speaking, such as breaking news or recent conversations you’ve had with family members or co-workers.
- The speaker uses a term or acronym that you don’t immediately understand or recognize.
- Biases we might have against the person, “they are the enemy,” “they are the competition.”
- We think about our goal, or solving the problem at hand, rather than listening.
- Thinking about what we will say or ask next.
Maddox went on to encourage us to ask ourselves:
- “Are you a good listener?”
- “Do you seek to discover more?”
- “Do you seek to understand them?”
Hopefully you can strive to get to “yes” on each of them.
It’s not just me. It’s critically important in both the communications industry and in life, as written about recently by Autumn.