I am grateful for you being here, right now, sharing your time with me. Thank You!
I've been noticing lately that in-person listening seems to be a secondary activity, rather than a primary focus. Wherever I go, I observe people passively listening to another person while simultaneously checking their phones.
It's not unusual to do other physical activities while listening, like driving or washing dishes or taking a walk and chatting.
What's new about this recent observation is that there are multiple conversations and communications going on at the same time.
It is more rare, than the norm, that I see a total focus on the people present.
Even at restaurants, I've observed two people sitting across from each other and both interacting with their phones. At parties, with a room full of people, at any given time, more people are checking their phones than interacting with others right around them.
And at business meetings, it is quite common that the mobile device in someone's lap or the ipad/computer in front of them has more of their attention than the speaker in the room speaking.
While some may be taking notes, studies by the McKinsey Global Institute have found that on average, in the workplace, we spend 13 hours a week on email alone - that's the equivalent of 28% of our workweek and that does not include checking social media sites or texting.
Why should this concern any of us?
The Energy Product Audit found that 69% of workers have difficulty focusing on one thing at a time and are easily distracted during the day. Studies on multi-tasking have proven that productivity increases are directly linked to focus and negatively impacted by juggling many things at once.
We might feel like we’re doing more and, in a way, we are but we’re actually getting less done in the process.
It has been scientifically demonstrated that the brain cannot effectively or efficiently switch between tasks, so you lose time. It takes four times longer to recognize new things so you’re not saving time; multitasking actually costs time. You also lose time because you often make mistakes.
Losing time and making mistakes in the workplace is certainly a concern.
Getting back to my earlier observations about our personal interactions, it is interesting to apply the same scientific findings to personal relationships.
We make mistakes in what we thought we heard due to our inattention and lack of focus on what is being said.
When we do not hear accurately, that often leads to less understanding or even misunderstanding and disagreements in our personal interactions.
Our Conscious listening is diminishing according to the research, and some of the effects are present in the escalations of violence currently present in the world.
It is Listening that connects us, increases our understanding and yes, better understanding and connections with people results in a more peaceful coexistence for all.
Give respect to others and love them and yourself enough to Be Present fully and listen with your full attention. Notice, appreciate, enjoy and savor the sounds of life!
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