By Stephen Shapiro Article
“Last month, I was on a flight from Orlando to Boston that had a bit of a problem. An hour before our scheduled landing in Boston, the pilot announced the main braking system was not functioning properly. Although the backup system would most likely work fine, the pilot and flight attendants were preparing us for the worst. They carefully described the emergency procedures. They were very similar to the ones frequent travelers have heard many times before. But this time, you could hear a pin drop as they walked us through what would happen. Everyone was paying attention. … This got me thinking: Do I ever really listen? The answer is no. And regrettably, I am not alone. Unfortunately even when you are trying to listen, you are still likely not really hearing properly.
Psychologists call this “confirmation bias.” We are naturally wired to filter and interpret information to conform to our underlying belief structures. And very simply put, these beliefs cloud how we hear. We only take in those pieces of information that align with our beliefs, and we disregard anything that contradicts them. …
The first step to listening better is to recognize the fact that you don’t. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you really hearing what others are saying? Or are you only passively listening?
- Are you focused on their words? Or are you thinking about what you will say next?
- Are you putting yourself in the shoes of the other person? Or are you only interested in meeting your own objectives?
- Do you ask a lot of questions? Or are you doing all of the talking?
- Are you hearing what they are really saying? Or are you too colored by your own perceptions, judgments and filters?”