Is Anybody Listening?

many talk but few listen

Selective Listening

Posted on | September 1, 2011 | No Comments

“You hear what you want to hear!” my mother used to tell me as a small child. And when I became a teenager too…
There was a possibly a lot of truth in that. And it’s a truth that continues to this day, no doubt. My wife tells me she can see when I have “tuned out.” Ooops!
But it’s not just my problem. It is a common trait and one that we can all identify with. In fact we should not beat ourselves up about it and feel bad. There is no way we could – or should – process everything that we hear. If we did we would not survive! But in this process we could be missing out on a lot of important things we should be listening to – for our own good.
This process suggests that we are quietly monitoring what is going on around us – and what is being said – while getting on with what we are doing. Then our ears prick up as a little flag goes up making us aware that something significant is being said or discussed. Like if someone is talking about me! Aha!
But for people in the communications business this trait cannot be ignored. It signals a problem. If no flags go up then nobody listens to what we are wanting people to hear.
Listening today is not something we do with our ears only. Visual plays a huge part too. People want to be visually challenged or stimulated. But if we do radio what can we do?
This is where creating images in people’s minds through words and sounds is so critical. We need to be building word pictures. Telling stories is a great way of doing this – stories with vivid imagery that leave an enduring impact on the listener.
Selective listening won’t go away – but being aware of, both as listener and communicator, will help us enormously.

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