The writer Fran Lebowitz once said, “The opposite of talking isn’t listening, it’s waiting.”
The other person is talking and we’re waiting and thinking, “If you’ll just shut up I’ll be able to tell you what I’m going to say.”
And it doesn’t help that while the average person talks at a rate of 120-180 words a minute we can hear and understand 400-600 words a minute. That’s a lot of time in between their words to think about something else.
By listening and focusing on what your communications partner (and yes, that is what they are—no matter who they are) is saying you start picking up all kinds of clues about what types of information they want (details or broad concepts), how they want it (fast or slow), is it the truth (uh oh!) or are there nuances you hadn’t noticed before (is it actually funny when they didn’t plan it that way)?
Try listening this weekend for a change. See—or hear—the difference.
Have a great weekend. See you Monday.