November 2023

Are you honoring your employees, clients, and suppliers by the way you ‘listen’ to them? Each of these groups of people is essential to your growth and success.

What about developing trust, building solid relationships, and enhancing productivity?

All these processes are significantly impacted by your listening skills, and your listening skills are more than what you ‘hear’ with your ears.

We must expand and develop the ways we ‘listen’, and it must be intentional and ongoing. Our culture has developed highly sophisticated technology that is focused on communication, but the adage still applies . . . “The problem with communication is the assumption that it has occurred” – or something like that.

People want to know that they’ve been heard, but I experience breakdowns in communication every day, and honestly, it’s really irritating. (Some of it’s even my fault, and that’s more irritating because I know better) It makes me feel like what I have to say isn’t important. (Or if it’s my fault, I feel like I’ve disrespected someone.) Most of the breakdowns I experience have to do with emails and texts, although it’s occasionally verbal as well.

We listen to what is spoken, which should be the easiest way to assure you have heard well, but that’s not always the case. It’s easy to be distracted (by something beyond the actual discussion, or by getting ‘stuck’ on something the other person says and missing what they continue saying because we’re formulating a response to just one point).

Then there’s written communication such as handwritten notes (seldom used today), emails and text messages. All of which can take on a whole different meaning when we’re not talking face to face.

Face to face allows the best opportunity for clear communication because we not only hear the message, but we see the language of the body and hear the inflections and tones of the voice.

All this to say that we need to be aware of how we’re listening in order to honor the other person, build trust, encourage relationship, enhance productivity, and demonstrate the righteous character of God.

Assuring we hear well requires intentionality, humility, and genuine interest in what the other person is saying.

I enjoy having a conversation with my friend Joe Slavens. I know that he is listening with all the skill and innate ability God has given him. He often asks for clarification and when we’re ‘done’ with our conversation he does a wrap up that includes restating what I have said verbally as well as what he has observed in inflection and body language. I know I have been heard, valued, and honored.

Listen Well!

Understand this, my dear brothers, and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.