Listening VS. Hearing – Are you a Lemon at it? Last night I was watching one of my favorite shows; Modern Family.

The theme of the show was Listening, and the comedic episode that ensue when someone doesn’t listen or hears something wrong. This episode made me laugh so hard because as cliché as this may sound: it was funny because it was true! How many times, have you found yourself frustrated by a family member, or a co worker who “heard” you wrong, where they even “listening” – wait isn’t listening the same this as hearing??? NO! I went to Alverno College and during my time there I was graced with the knowledge and teaching of a professor by the name of Kathy Thompson. She was a part of the ILA; the International Listening Association. She led this great class that intrigued me then, and still plays an active part in my professional and personal life. It was a class simply deemed; “Listening”. This is where I first learned that Listen and hear are two very different things. Hearing is the physical act of your ears hearing sound, while listening is the computing portion the understanding and interpreting of what is heard is true listening. So what does this have to do with Business – EVERYTHING! “The contrast between hearing and really listening can be as different as night and day. And in a business environment, not listening effectively to customers, employees, and peers can mean the difference between success and failure.” — Ken Johnson. You must practice good hearing, and listening in order to really understand the needs and wants of your target demographic. It’s a life skill that either in business or home life you always want to remember the importance of truly paying attention to what is being said, and getting clarification for anything that you may not have understood, or hear clearly. The following are some of my favorite quotes to remember posted by the ILA: • The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. — Ralph Nichols Effective listeners remember that "words have no meaning - people have meaning." The assignment of meaning to a term is an internal process; meaning comes from inside us. And although our experiences, knowledge and attitudes differ, we often misinterpret each other’s messages while under the illusion that a common understanding has been achieved. — Larry Barker It’s my job to talk and yours to listen, but please, let me know if you finish before I do. — Anonymous

How do you listen effectively, tell us of the worst listening debacle you have experienced!

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