We’ve been told many times of the important distinction between hearing [just the words] and listening [internalizing those words]. Students and husbands are regularly indicted for ‘selective hearing.’ As a one-time student and a now-time husband, I can’t dispute the charge.
But here’s one of the great ironies about good listening skills. While the human brain is being relentlessly outpaced these days by our staggering body of digital information, that same brain continues to outpace what it is hearing/listening. By at least four times the rate of the speaker.
Lets not rush over that stat…..!
What it means — fellow students, husbands, girlfriends, and co-workers — is your brain hears/listens at least four times as fast as the speaker — teacher, wife. boyfriend, newscaster. But what at first may seem a plus has been repeatedly shown to be a problem.
You see, because our brain has already picked up the pace and purpose of the speaker, it tends to wander off while it waits for the speaker to catch up. It’s in those sound-gaps where we often tune out and/or wander off. Missing some of the specific facts, even the whole point to the message.
Try it for yourself during tonight’s news broadcast. You’ll see how often you miss some of what was actually said, because you were impatiently filling in some of those ‘gaps’ for yourself. However, a warning. If you don’t want to insult that important person you’re with tonight, don’t impatiently tell them to speak up four times faster!
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