Monday, December 24, 2012

Are you really listening? 10 Myths about listening

The Myth: You consider yourself a decent listener 
The Truth: You're nowhere close to a good listener, as you have preconceptions that ignores information that does not fit your narrative. 

Here are ten related myths about listening:
Myth 1: Everyone knows how to listen.
Fact: Every one knows how to "hear". Listening is a very different skill. 
Myth 2: Sending messages is more important than receiving.
Fact: Listening and speaking are like ying and yang, they are complementary processes. You can't have one without the other. 
Myth 3: Listening is easy and passive.
Fact: Listening is an active process in which your brain actively interprets the data and evaluate how well it fits into your narrative. Thus, it requires mental power. 
Myth 4: Hearing and listening are the same.
Fact: Listening and hearing are completely different skills. Hearing is completely passive, while listening requires critical thinking. 
Myth 5: An effective speaker commands the audience's attention.
Fact: an effective speaker has the skill to "tease" the audience into paying attention, but the audience needs to participate as well. 
Myth 6: Hearing and decoding constitute listening.
Fact: Active perception, analysis, and evaluation are still needed even if you "heard" the information. 
Myth 7: Communication is the sender's responsibility.
Fact: Communication is like tango: it takes two, both speaker and listener. 
Myth 8: Listening is done with the ears.
Fact: True listening involves body language in addition to merely the verbal stuff. 
Myth 9: Listening skills are practiced, not learned.
Fact: Listening involves critical thinking, thus practice does not make perfect. You need to engage your brain for this instead of reflex. 
Myth 10: Listening ability comes from maturity.
Listening ability is from engaging your brain. Maturity merely lends you more perspective. 
(Reference: Adapted from "The Top 10 Myths of Listening," Copyright 2003 by Thomas Leonard,

So what can you do about it? Here are ten tips from Forbes

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