Ever had anyone say to you- you’re not hearing me; you’re not listening to me, that’s not what I said… Maybe your parents, spouse or kids? – Employees probably won’t say that to you, but how often have you said it to them?
Frustrating right? On both sides, right? Because it’s frustrating to try to communicate something to someone and have them not get it, and it’s frustrating to be told that you didn’t hear what you’re sure you just heard.
So how does that happen? When someone is talking, you’re clearly hearing the sound coming out right? Assuming that you don’t have a hearing impediment, in which case, you’ve probably accommodated that in some way.
What’s the difference between hearing the sound coming from someone’s mouth, and completely hearing what they say?
Attention – were you paying full undivided attention, or thinking about what you were going to say next, what time your next apt is, a report you need to do, client calls, what you’re going to wear tonight etc?
If so, if your attention is only partial, then you can only pick up on partial things that you hear, you can only pick up on some of it, and will miss the rest. Missed information = misinformation = not hearing what’s being said.
Next – even if you did hear everything (and this magnifies when you’ve only heard snippets), what were you filtering your hearing through? Were you filtering it through what your beliefs about that person are a) he’s a complaining mess who never gets anything done b) she’s such a drama queen I don’t have time for this etc
Were you filtering it through your own limiting beliefs a) that project is too ambitious, we’ll never be able to get it done and this is a waste of time, were you listening from a defensive position etc…
So many other examples here of how we filter. It’s impossible not to.
So we pick up o the parts that resonate with us, that either reinforce our beliefs about that person– ie we wait for/look for the drama whenever the ‘drama queen’ opens her mouth, etc OR about ourselves – we look for/wait for the criticism of us, or our beliefs about the situation etc…
We seize upon that which validates our belief. We filter the rest out as being useless, because it doesn’t support our beliefs, so we wind up as though we haven’t even heard it in the first place.
External awareness is being able to have quiet mind – and be able to take all the info in. The ability to (observe, sense, Pay attention)
Internal awareness is about being able to see our own filters and understand how those affect our ability to (analyze, assess, evaluate, discern, and distinguish)… we impute significance or meaning subjectively. This is more true the fuzzier and more emotional the topic is. In deception Detection one of the key issues is what we want to believe which can completely cloud our interpretation of what we see and hear. This is easier when it’s something that we’re not attached to. Perhaps this is why it’s so much easier to clearly see what’s going in someone else’s life, or why consultants can walk in and see where the dysfunctions of a company are. Ever have a friend describe a situation with an employer/employee, vendor/customer or life partner, and you see that the other person isn’t being honest with them, but they don’t see it?
And even here, we’ll filter that through our experience. Often if you’ve been cheated or lied to, that’s how you’ll tend to interpret situations. These filters are so ingrained, and in many situations useful. We can’t ever eliminate them, that would be impossible, and it would also make getting around every day difficult. We can only try to become more aware of them, to identify and name them. If we can do that, then we can recognize them, perhaps as old friends, when they pop up.
Oh hello fear and judgment, nice to see you, could you please sit quietly in the back for a few minutes while I listen openly. Actually, it’s a nice day, why don’t you go for a long walk