What Are You Listening To?

Blog 20-03-27

These are challenging times which are stretching our abilities as communicators. Everything around us is in flux. There is a cacophony of messages from leaders, the media, neighbors, friends, family, and the ones we tell ourselves … and many seem to be in conflict. Indeed, poor communication abounds across the board.

And, there are shining examples of message “clarity”. Two days ago, I listened to my state’s governor outline what has been done by the state, what needed to be done, what couldn’t be done, and what was underway. He was articulate, factual, empathetic, human, and supported by his team in a way that instilled trust for the message and their actions. Perhaps this is the lesson to be learned for teams – each one of us has a responsibility to show up and communicate in a way that brings clarity and resolve to whatever we are tackling.

Too often, we listen to reply instead of listen to understand what is being said. Our defenses spring up as we place our own interpretations on what we hear. We don’t ask questions … we react, and then we unknowingly become part of the problem. “It’s them, not me.” Let me let you in on a secret – it’s all of us.

When poor communications abound, we each have a responsibility to ask questions with curiosity and not to prove a point. We need to highlight where there is confusion and work together to clarify. We need to listen to what’s being said and dig deeper.

This is hard work for many of us. We have been experts in our fields and believe we know what’s best. We’ll find much richer answers and connections when we focus on improving how we communicate. Our perceptions of what is and what has to be are bound to change.

This Week: When in conversation, notice if you are listening to hear or listening to reply. If it’s the latter, place it on pause. Take the time to explore. Ask questions to understand and see what truth you can find for yourself in what’s being said. Find the intersections where you come together. And, choose to go deeper into conversation. See what happens.

In Next Week’s Post: Handling toxic behavior.

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