People talk, and sometimes people listen. Have you ever truly considered what you are hearing? Are you listening for facts?
One of the biggest struggle spots with our communication, or perhaps miscommunication comes from our listening skills. Of course this is not a surprise but have you ever stopped to consider how you are speaking or what you are hearing?
Listening is not the same as hearing. We hear sounds, noises, and even voices. Hearing is instinctual, it comes naturally. Listening is a developed skill.
Speaking With Opinions
Many people speak with opinions. They offer their beliefs, values, or understandings as being factual even though they might be nothing more than their opinion.
- We went to the movies last night and saw the best movie ever!
- Try the peanut butter pie at Frank’s Restaurant on the corner of 4th and Elm. They have the best peanut butter pie.
- Sally is such a morning person.
- I’ve known Jack for years. He is a really nice guy.
- Please email me the report when you are finished. I need it sooner rather than later.
While we are navigating our life or our workplace, we often accept what we hear as being completely factual. In addition, misunderstandings often happen when our message is not clear.
Listening For Facts
Let’s consider the statements just presented, only this time, let’s look for them to be more factual.
- We saw a great movie last night. I thought it was the better than most because in the end the underdog came out on top.
- I’ve had peanut butter pie at many restaurants, the one I like the best is at Frank’s Restaurant on the corner of 4th and Elm.
- Sally always gets to work in the morning before I do.
- Whenever I see Jack he smiles and shakes my hand.
- When you finish with the report please email it to me. I need it before my 9:00 AM meeting tomorrow.
Clearer, more precise, perhaps a little longer sometimes, but speaking with facts helps everyone develop a better understanding. One problem is that many of us not only speak with our opinions, but we try to make it very compelling so the listener is accepting it as being factual.
There is great value in understanding more about facts and opinions, especially when buying or selling. When you are selling, you’ll want to be very compelling. Even when it is just your ideas being sold to your boss or the board of directors.
Listen to yourself, be aware of the messages you are sending. We might have strong feelings about many things in life, but if we want accuracy we should be more careful about how we communicate.
Consequences for not understanding the difference between a fact and an opinion can be big. Miscommunication and misunderstandings are costly for businesses and perhaps costly for your career.
When we are hurried or trying to do two things at once, we often don’t listen well. That is a fact.
Take the time, or make the time. Start listening for facts.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.