Listening to people is so 'last century'
By Ian GRAYSON
When was the last time one of your work colleagues really listened to you? For most people, it’s becoming an increasingly rare event.
Meetings, coffee shop conversations and even chance encounters in the lift used to be opportunities for the exchange of information and ideas. Listening to what someone else had to say was not only polite, it was important.
But these days things are different. In meetings participants surreptitiously check emails and tweets while ostensibly listening to whoever’s doing the talking. Even in one-on-one encounters, all too often the person you’re talking to pauses to check text messages or emails, sometimes mid-sentence. It's as if doing just one thing at a time is no longer considered sufficient.
Now there has been much research on the detrimental effects that multi-tasking has on productivity, but it’s not stopping growing numbers of people doing it.
The human brain is wired in such a way that it can only concentrate properly on one thing at a time. Try to increase that number and things go downhill.
The problem is being exacerbated with the rise in mobile device usage. While this trend is not going to slow, at some point people are going to have to think about the impact they are having on face-to-face communication.
The next time you're speaking with or listening to someone, try giving them your full attention throughout. The results might just surprise both of you.
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