Volume can be misleading.
Increasing the decibel level is no guarantee a message will be heard. Exercising the loudest voice in the room doesn’t equate to connecting with anyone. Bigger and louder — shake-the-ground-you-stand-on-boom notwithstanding — doesn’t ensure anything will resonate.
And siren call aside, the same is true for even the most seductive distribution channel or platform. The grandest pulpit, a bazillion Twitter followers, even revered global networks have been party to colossal misses when it comes to connecting.
You’d think by now we’d know better than to view these things as the currency of communication.
If you’re investing in the creation and delivery of a message, consider investing in something often overlooked.
Let’s revisit that room — the one where someone or some group is turning up the volume in an effort to grab attention (or maybe simply dominate).
It is worth reminding that silence might be golden. Even profound.
The fact that someone else in the room is reluctant to engage or become caught up in the “noise” should not be mistaken for the absence of a message.
When it comes to connecting, resonating and inspiring, intentional listening is, more often than not, undervalued. Or overlooked. Yet it always precedes effective communication. Here’s why:
- Intentional listening broadens experience. This is critical because experience is the stuff of which solid bridges to new relationships are built.
- Intentional listening provides a context in which empathy takes root. And empathy gives rise to understanding.
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An investment in listening inspires more listening, because real empathy shines a light on the fact that I have no idea what I don’t know. For one with a modicum of self awareness, this is enough to prompt silence.
Granted…an oath of silence isn’t a practical approach to survival in the professional arena. But if we can resist going to the extreme, there might be a practical point here.
Consider those for whom you will stop-down and listen…no matter what. Discerning questions, insightful contributions…the right words at the right time.
The effective communicator understands and consistently invests in the real currency of the art. It isn’t volume, channel, platform or even eloquence.
The currency of communication is intentional listening.
One wonders what adventures, innovations and successes, might await were we less preoccupied with the accoutrement of being heard. Where might we build bridges were we more inclined to focus on hearing…as opposed to being heard.
What might leadership sound like?
Were we to place appropriate value on intentional listening, what might that mean for our adventures in the marketplace?