I am just finishing up a book called The Pin Drop Principle. Admittedly, I read a little less than I should but I do enjoy it. Over the past few years I have read very little for pleasure. I read mostly non-fiction. I find the stuff I learn very gratifying. Mostly.
This business book’s subject is about honing your presentation skills written from the perspective of how actors prepare for their performances. There are a ton of great tips and the book has been very helpful considering I am giving my first “formal” presentation at a course on reinventing construction project delivery in May. My subject is collaborative project delivery which is something I have a real passion for.
What struck me is the chapter on listening.
Why include listening as part of a book on presentations? Well, the importance lies in the interaction between us; you as the communicator and me as the receiver and vice versa. The relationship between the two is fundamental in good communication.
Until I got through this chapter I thought I was an expert at listening. I have been listening off and on for 48 years so I am certainly an expert, right?
The book suggested up to 70% of people don’t know how to listen well. Up to 70%! Really? And, it goes on to say most of us think we are in the 30% but in reality are not even close. There are a lot of ways to improve our listening skills and for me this is now of critical importance.
From this moment forward.
I can only imagine what good stuff I may have missed.
The chapter offers a myriad of tips to help you improve your listening skills. The first one, right out of the gate, seemed so obvious but, in fact, remains the biggest culprit of this day and age; avoiding distractions. To me, the smart phone has perpetuated this issue (see how I neatly blamed something else, there?).
My wife and I were talking about this while walking the pup on Friday. I was a lovely late March day; warm and sunny. I mentioned that I had a revelation.
We stopped in our tracks, looked at each other and started laughing.
You see, my wife knows full well, in certain situations, occasionally interrupting someone in the middle of a thought is something I have a propensity to do. I realised after reading this chapter that doing that not only is rude but also very disrespectful. Sure, I know that but what’s most important is the knowledge that I have not only been disrespectful but that I have completely missed what was being said. There is no way I could have understood what I was being told because my mind was already underway looking for a response before the thought was even finished.
Well, you can bet that’s not going to happen anymore. Not if I have anything to do with it!
I wonder if this same notation applies to reading.
I have read blog entries that suggest people skim content. I have always found that odd. In a similar manner to listening how can we absorb the essence of a piece of content if we don’t take the time to read it?
So, I ask myself, “Why even put yourself there if you don’t have the time?”
That brings us to today’s quote.
I don’t believe I have ever read anything by George Bernard Shaw but he certainly had a quote that fits very well to this week’s story. I can’t help respect a Nobel laureate and the namesake for Ontario’s Shaw Festival. Take it away George.
If that doesn’t brighten your day then maybe this will.
There are two fish in a tank. One turns to the other and says, “‘You man the guns, I’ll drive!”
Have a great Monday and an awesome week.
If you want to read last week’s quote simply click here.