“There’s a lot of difference between listening and hearing”
People so often hear what they expect or what they want to hear and not what is said. So much of communication is non-verbal yet in Second Life we’re often restricted to just text with no nuance, tone, body language, listening sounds or the sense of a smile in a spoken word. It’s no wonder that communication can be such a challenge in friendships, relationships and in the SL workplace. It’s even more important in our virtual world that people say what they mean and mean what they say.
The other quote I nearly used was about how people should listen with the intention of understanding, not the intention to reply. When I left school one of my first jobs was working as a telephone operator. I enjoyed doing operator services and emergency calls but one of the most boring parts of the job was doing Directory Enquiries calls. Back in the day we used to answer “Directory Enquiries which town please?” then you would ask for the name, initials, address etc. A colleague and I would try to find ways to make the job more interesting and one day we decided to swap around what we said. So for a whole day we answered the calls “Directory Enquiries which name please?” We made note of how many gave us the name and while I can’t remember the exact numbers it was very, very few. They answered in the way they expected to based on every previous call, not noticing and not listening to what we actually asked them. While it was just a bit of fun to make the day more interesting it was actually quite the life lesson in that day at work. Hear, don’t just listen.
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2 thoughts on “Can you hear me?”
Very interesting points, Kess, especially with regards to your job experience. We are very much creatures of habit, though, and once something is learned in a way… it’s difficult to unlearn when a new situation arises. Another thing I think happens – and especially today – is that people’s attention is not good. It is scattered all over the place and moves quickly from one subject to another without resting on the situation of the moment. A bit like a handkerchief spread all over the table instead of being neatly folded and centred. I notice that when I’m talking to folks, they will go off on another subject and I just know that the last sentence I spoke to them has not been registered. Sometimes the whole subject has not been registered or understood. This is definitely a modern problem because I don’t recall it happening in my youth and early twenties. Maybe it is the result of too much technology and social media when everything is delivered in ‘sound bites’ and nothing is fully appreciated in the heart. And then maybe it’s the analysis of the brain working overtime which also adds to the problem of not really listening and relating to your fellow participants in the conversations you have.
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I think there may be something in that…though my work experience was way before social media but I do think people’s attention spans are shorter and used to getting information in very short consise bursts
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