Listening – a skill unheard of

We all need specialized skills to adequately equip us for the workplace – wherever, or whatever, that may be. But what about [arguably] one of the most simple skills; listening?! Are we all on the hunt for the technical skills necessary to allow us to succeed, at the cost of us not listening to those around us?

By the end of this post, I would like to bring just 2 points to your attention: the most important skill in radio is to listen; and the art to listening is more than likely just as important in your workplace.

In the radio industry, listening is the most important aspect – more so than talking. This may come as a surprise to you but it is true. This is not just a radio ‘thing’, but in fact a lifelong pattern that some individuals do not get to grips with and probably won’t ever.

You have heard of that old saying “we have 2 ears and 1 mouth” – that is literally all the ocular proof we need to show that, that is the proportion of listening-to-talking we should be doing (i.e. listening twice as much as we should, talking).

But now you are probably wondering “Well listening isn’t actually that important for me.” I would like to give you an analogy to prove my point:

A few months ago I was conducting an interview off air (for one of the older posts on my blog: community radio), and I was actively trying to listen to what the interviewee had to say – as to get the most out of the interview. Fortunately for me, I had recorded the whole conversation. Later that evening, I played back the dialogue. After listening to it again, I realized how many fruitful opportunities I had missed out on by simply asking the wrong questions (talking) because I had not a full understanding of the main message they were pursuing (listening).

Now replace the thought of this interview with perhaps a conversation between you and a colleague, or better yet, your boss. If you are able to fully decipher what it is that he or she is trying to tell you, imagine how much more you will be able to get done. If you are an engineer I’m definitely not saying that listening is the sole skill needed to be able to build a bridge, but it is definitely a good stepping stone (kindly, excuse that pun) to know what your team is saying before and during the project when onsite.

A plus side, people tend to always remember a good listener.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

The beauty of it is that we all have ears to listen.



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