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Business is fun

Why don't people listen?

Mrs Richards was the complainer in that particular episode of Fawlty Towers. Ironically it was she who didn't want to listen as she regularly turned off her hearing aid. In fact that was what made that particular scene so funny!

Many people have selective hearing and occasionally very short spans of attention to things that don't actually interest them.

I find sometimes that while explaining something important about tax, a dull shine comes over peoples eyes as they mentally tune out of the discussion either because its not as interesting as they first thought it would be or because they understand the words but fail to see how it impacts on their wealth just yet. It would be understandable if I said either out loud or to myself "Why don't people listen?"

But there is a much bigger issue here, and it is this: communication is a two way street and if the person I'm talking to doesn't want to absorb what I'm saying, I can do nothing about that except make the message more understandable, clearer, relevant and targeted. The meaning of my communication is the response I get, so says a classic NLP axiom, and how true.

Office Cartoon #6218 by Andertoons

So the test of your skill as a communicator is to spot the glazed eyes and, instead of carrying on regardless, recognise that your message is not getting through and change both what you are saying and how. An easy way to do this is to test for understanding at regular intervals in a non threatening way e.g. How does that sound so far? or Can you see what I'm saying and how it works?

Such a simple skill and so difficult to master. Widely applicable in every field of business whether in Sales, Accounting and Tax, Engineering or Retail.

This is the first of a new series of cartoon blogs and its message is simple: keep YOUR hearing aid switched on and LISTEN with your eyes don't just hear.



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