When you are actively listening your brain is processing information. In his Ted Talk Julian Treasure claims that listening is dying out despite its vital role. He wants people to practice listening so they can increase their listening skills. According to Treasure we only retain 25% of the time we spend listening. That means we retain less than half of what we hear.
What does this mean for professional communicators? What great lengths must they go through to catch and hold our attention? Treasure references sensationalism in the media as a tool for grabbing listeners’ attention.
In a world where attention spans are shorter and listening retentions are low, how can you break through the problem of overwhelming noise, without degrading the quality of your message? Listening to what your audience wants and finding a way to give them that may be a good start.
“Just shut up — and listen,” the advice of Ernesto Sirolli, economy development expert.
Sirolli explains how the best type of foreign aid is the kind that just listens. He prescribes the best way to help a community is to listen to the community members who have passion to do something and then assist in any ways that they might need to make their passions reality. This is a hands-off approach that allows the communities themselves to build their economies though entrepreneurship.
The best way to find out what people want is to listen. If we listen to you, will you listen to us? Returning to this simple ‘give and receive model’ could be the best advice for professional communicators.
Just listen — and imagine the good you can do and the knowledge you will gain.