I remember a conversation I had with my wife that went something like this.
My Wife:“Hey Babe, did you remember to make the deposit at the bank today?”
Me: “No babe I didn’t, I did not think I needed to do that again”
My Wife: ” Babe, remember I asked you to make a deposit yesterday because some payments will be coming out from that account today?”
Me: “I thought you said not to make a deposit to the account because money was coming in today.” (My voice raised slightly).
My Wife: “No i did not say that, you see, you did not listen to what I was saying….”
Me: ” Well if you had explained or communicated clearly maybe I would have “listened” to what you were saying (speaking with some sarcasm).
Needless to say we did not hang up on each other thank God and for the sake of moving this write-up along, I will leave what happened next in the conversation to your imagination :-).
In any case, after the phone call, I immediately realized that my wife and I had just experienced what I call a bad case of a “fundamental breakdown in communication.” This happens a lot in relationships, organizations and even in the government and most times it occurs when one party in the communication link fails to listen. For effective communication, we have to listen or else the result would be similar to the above mentioned scenario I presented.
Many times, we are so eager to push our agendas that we fail to listen to the subtle cues around us. In our quest to pass our points across, we unconsciously tune out the other party especially if there is no connection with that person.
In my book Discovering Followership: Learn The Secrets of Walking Behind and Still Staying Ahead, I talk about how businesses or organizations have suffered immensely because leaders fail to listen to their subordinates for feedback.
Jesus asked his disciples the question “Who do men say that i am?” Luke 9:18b. He listened to what they had to say, he heard their concerns even though sometimes they were not always justifiable. Listening and getting feedback is just as important if not more important than speaking.
James 1:19 says “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..”
The power of an individuals communication abilities is not in eloquence alone or in the ability to convey knowledge verbally, it is also in an individual’s ability to listen carefully especially to the hidden messages that have not been communicated verbally.
Regardless of the reasons why we can’t communicate properly with others, I believe that it is very essential for success in our relationships to listen carefully as we communicate.
So how can we grow in this area? what steps can we take to improve our listening abilities? I searched online for some write-ups on this and found this one quite helpful. Click here to read more about some listening tips.
In conclusion, speaking is just one part of the equation for effective communication to occur. Listening is the other side of the equation, communication can never be complete without it. Listening affirms your commitment to the person you are communicating with. It will help develop patience and it often projects a sense that you really care. So take time to listen today, so that what you are trying to communicate will come across more effectively. God bless.