By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen” – Ernest Hemingway
Interestingly, today’s business leaders have the same complaint as Ernest Hemingway did in the last century – people at the workplace just don’t ‘listen’. During a business meeting we ‘pretend’ to listen and are either distracted by other thoughts or are thinking about what we are going to say next. One way or the other, the speaker’s message is completely or partially lost.
Psychologists say that listening skills and styles are learnt in childhood. We are taught at school and at home how to listen to teachers & elders and how to express our views in a conversation. So, both good and bad experiences in childhood will influence your listening skills as an adult.
At a global level, there’s a huge crisis brewing in the world of listening skills. Today’s children are terrible listeners as they over-stimulated by excessive technology and are completely zoned out of their surroundings. They are mesmerized by their hand-held devices, which double up as a friend and a baby-sitter. This leads to lack of desire to engage with their surroundings or the need to conduct conversation. Interestingly, parents recognize that their child is not listening or responding; rather than teach them skills to become better listeners, they simply ignore them or make excuses for their lack of social behavior.
Strong listening skills is ranked as one of the most valuable leadership skills and is an asset, regardless of the level of your job or type of industry. Actors, politicians, business leaders, cricketers and artists, all need superior listening skills.