Listening doesn’t come easy.

For anyone (or any business) with a point of view, an opinion, a measure of conviction, and the means to disseminate a message listening is rarely what first comes to mind when addressing the communication process.

Client feedback initiatives and market research notwithstanding, from the instant an infant realizes what it takes to relieve the pains of hunger, our practical view of communication focuses on creating and delivering a message.  We are conditioned to view charisma, wordsmithing and creative genius as the components of great communication.  Result?  We equate message delivery with communication.

Listening is…well, just silence.  Golden, perhaps.  But certainly not communicating.

(We could spend a couple of paragraphs discussing how this view has worked out thus far, but let’s get to the good part.)

Here’s the proposition: communication is one of those counter-intuitive disciplines that works exactly opposite of the way we think; it begins when we learn how to listen.

And the discipline of listening is what gives shape to the creative art of messaging.

Discipline and Art are not at odds when it comes to communication; rather, they are two essential halves that create the whole.  For marketing professionals, this gives rise to a two-fold go-forward challenge:

  • Beef up the portfolio of proactive listening tools (Social Media affords great possibilities here); and,
  • Practice resisting the temptation to go straight to messaging.