Listening is a skill that needs to be learned.
Let’s hear what Peter Senge has to say:
“To listen fully means to pay close attention to what is being said beneath the words. You listen not only to the ‘music,’ but to the essence of the person speaking. You listen not only for what someone knows, but for what he or she is. Ears operate at the speed of sound, which is far slower than the speed of light the eyes take in. Generative listening is the art of developing deeper silences in yourself, so you can slow our mind’s hearing to your ears’ natural speed, and hear beneath the words to their meaning.” – Peter Senge
Listening requires paying attention. It seems all the more essential as we live in a time of constant distractions both externally and internally. Not easy to slow the mind’s hearing to the speed of the ears.
Listening is critical not only for purpose of gaining information but very needful for building relationships. As we work in teams and collaborate more intensely, listening often becomes the key success factor. Listening is undoubtedly something an effective leader needs.
Perhaps a web resource such as Storynory that provides weekly audio stories is a good place to start introducing good listening skills in the classroom.
Just two more quotes to end-off:
Robert Greenleaf, best known for Servant Leadership – “Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.”
Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders” – “Seek first to understand, then be understood.”