I’ve been asked, “Can’t you take a joke?” more than a few times, and I bet you have too. Ever notice how it is always after someone has said something that is offensive and disrespectful?
Does the question leave you speechless the way it does me?
Do we take the time to sit down and listen to ourselves and understand how our words are heard by others? Or do we believe our words to be empty and meaningless and therefore, unimportant?
It’s a lame attempt to cover up for a rude statement by shifting responsibility from the speaker to the listener. The original statement and the ‘joke’ question that follows are disrespectful behavior. They take away from our intimacy and enjoyment of each other.
I have an answer to that question. My answer puts responsibility back where it belongs. Even better, it allows me to maintain my self-respect and show respect for others.
Here’s a hint: it’s not a smart-mouthed comeback.
Would you be surprised to learn that most of us only listen with about 25 percent efficiency? Another way to look at it is that we only hear one in every four words. It’s not
Leadership and listening are linked, the better we listen, the better we lead. But most of us think we are better listeners than we really are.
because listening effectively is so difficult, it’s because we believe we already listen better than the average person and therefore, we do not need to improve our listening effectiveness.
You might change your point of view when I tell you that those who listen effectively are 40 percent more likely to be more effective leaders.
“What we’ve got here is (a) failure to communicate“
Some of you might recognize this as a line from the 1967 movie, Cool Hand Luke.
We all have our moments when we realize we have had a failure to communicate and we’re scratching our heads wondering, “how did this happen?”
As a listener, we must give speakers our undivided attention if we are to catch the full meaning of their words and connect with them.
It takes two to miscommunicate. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how assumptions are the cause of miscommunications. One assumption by listeners contributes to miscommunication– the assumption that what the speaker is saying is not important enough to warrant full attention.
I watch this happen nearly every day. Sometimes I’m the listener. Continue reading