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Anyone in the communications business, advertising or marketing, knows that the human touch is profoundly instrumental in getting the results you deserve.

Part of that personal interaction includes face to face conversations, whether one on one, one in a group, and the like.  [Many of us call it F2F.]

And embedded within those dialogues is a skill that, of late, the media has examined inside and out:  Listening.

Yeah, your mother told you:  ‘Listen when I talk.’  ‘God gave you two ears and one mouth.’


Recent academic research has probed the nature of mindful hearing.   Eighty-five percent of what we know we learn through listening.  Yet we only listen at a 25 percent comprehension rate.  Compare those numbers with the demands of a typical business day:   45% listening, 30% talking, 16% reading, and 9% writing.

Despite all those stats, we’re not great at attending.  We interrupt.  We’d rather talk about ourselves.  We’re uncomfortable with emotions, so we avoid them.   We try to fix.  We’re distracted by you-know-whats.

As with all intangibles, listening well takes time to, well, learn.  It’s a matter of using the right tone, interpreting body language, and learning to actively hone in on another being.  Which is why corporate processes and programs like performance management , learning and development, even business strategy could stand a long and lengthy dose of ‘how to listen.’ 

No wonder Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust agrees:   “When you’re listening, you’re getting information.  You’re being given the gift of understanding where someone is … “