How often, in a conversation, do you listen to the other person without cutting them off. Or, how often do you wait for the other person to pause 3 to 5 seconds after they finish speaking and then respond?
Here’s a quick story (of poor listening) from my personal experience and a humbling one, I might add.
I was in an important meeting one night, and we were in a tight circle of about 15 guys. The details of the meeting are not necessary. Let’s say it was an important meeting. Dan, an acquaintance of mine, was sharing a personal story with the group. Every ten to twenty seconds, I would shake my head in agreement. Was I REALLY listening? Nope. I was acting like I was listening (simply to be liked). Well, he stopped dead, and in mid-sentence, and said, “Tim, why are you shaking your head in agreement when I haven’t even finished my story?” I was embarrassed and might as well have shoved a shoe in my mouth. He then said to me, “Tim, if you just sit and listen to every word of my story, you might actually develop a thought, and then you could share something of value to the group.” What a lovely little smack in the face of truth! I wouldn’t say I liked it, but I sure as heck needed to hear it.
Since then, which is about 8-years ago, I have thought about that day and practice this detail every day.
No, it is not easy, and I screw it up from time to time.
What are the benefits you might have of deeply listening?