Excerpt about listening from: The Value Message
Reflecting back on Molly’s story, I want to explore more about listening. Everyone has heard admonitions as to the wisdom of listening. If this skill is so important why is it not offered as a subject in school or college? Don’t spend time pondering that question. Instead take time to learn this mighty skill on your own. Listening can be encouraged but difficult to teach.
Am I a good listener? No. I do actually consider myself a good listener, but the more I know about listening, the less I know about listening. Listening is true empathy personified. Interestingly listening and empathy aren’t exactly the same thing, but it’s impossible to cultivate one without growing the other. Is it possible that we are afraid of listening? To listen is to let go. Let go of ideals, traditions, mindsets and comfort zones. The more we listen the more we feel a loss of control. Show me a good listener and I’ll show you a person with tremendous personal growth, I’ll show you a leader and I’ll show you someone who connects with people. Hearers are plentiful, listeners are powerful.
So powerful is the art of listening that I’ve dedicated an entire webpage to this subject. (thevaluemessage.com/productivity/listening). Simon Senik tuned me into the immense power of listening as well. Check out the links. Listening, though a necessary skill is not complex, the page mostly consists of web links to Thought Leaders speaking about listening.
Listening is an “undecorated” hero and skill set. Compared to talking, yelling, persuading and screaming, it’s very “low profile”. It’s a vacuum compared to an explosion. Yet listening has altered the tide of war. Has softened hatred. Turned enemies into friends. Saved countless lives and calmed the masses. What other power or skill can boast of such things?
A TEDx talk I highly recommend is given by William Ury. (The power of listening: William Ury, TEDxSanDiego). Mr. Ury’s entire career has centered around the power of listening. He has worked with National Leaders, high level business executives and countless other groups.
Seek first to understand then to be understood. -Steven R. Covey