We’re listening, but we’re not really listening. Listening is one of the most important skills we will develop in our lifetime. It’s so important, yet we consciously fail to grasp its concept.
The act of listening isn’t just about hearing words, but paying attention to what’s really being said. We hear words, but we’re not concentrating. We must listen beyond words and look deep into its meaning. Body language and tone are equally as important, particularly where there is an emotional component attached to its meaning.
When we skim the surface, we not only miss the true meaning of the message, but will also miss the translation of the relationship itself. We seem disinterested in what the other person has to say. Listening has a tremendous impact on building trust in any relationship. When we’re listening we show the other person we care.
When we listen, we also learn to observe the body language. A study carried out at UCLA looked at the extent to which emotional messages are sent through words, tone and body language. Regarding the true meaning of an emotional message, the study discovered that:
- 7 percent of meaning is in the words that are spoken
- 38 percent of meaning is in the tone of voice
- 55 percent of meaning is in facial expression
When we listen we show we are interested not only in what the other person has to say, but in their life too and it’s that which will impact greatly on building and rebuilding relationships.