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In This Issue
The Art of Active Listening
The Science Behind the Art
SCS e-xpress

March/April 2014

A Message from Sarah & Chris:             White clock with words Time to Listen, illustrating the importance of listening to others who want              

The theme of this issue is "active listening."

Active listening is one of the most important interpersonal communication skills.  It is very often the foundation of strong relationships with family, friends, and coworkers.  Fortunately, active listening is a skill that can be acquired and developed with practice.  Read on to learn how you can become a better active listener.


We hope you enjoy our free SCS e-newsletter.  Please send us your ideas and suggestions for future issues.  Have a great day!  

Where We'll Be

Greater Twin Cities ABC Meeting
Minneapolis, MN
Chicago, IL
08/03/14 - 08/05/14

Keystone, CO
08/17/14 - 08/20/14

National Harbor, MD
10/26/14 - 10/29/14
Today's Quotes 

"We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak."

     - Epictetus, Greek philosopher


"The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place."  

        - George Bernard Shaw


"Seek first to understand, then be understood."  

  - Stephen R. Covey


"Let every man be swift to hear, and slow to speak."  

       -  The Holy Bible; James 1:19

Today's Laughs

A wife asks her husband, "Could you please go to the grocery store and buy a carton of milk - and if they have eggs, get six."


So the husband goes to the store and comes back with six cartons of milk.  


The wife asks, "Why on earth did you buy six cartons of milk?"  


The husband replies, "Because they had eggs!" 


Did you ever notice that when you put the words "THE" and "IRS" together, it spells "THEIRS?"


SIgn at ice cream shop: 

"Teach your kids about taxes.  Eat 30% of their ice cream."

                                                dog on the phone with a can              

            The Art of               Active Listening

The four primary skills of communication are reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  In school, a lot of time is devoted to the first three skills and very little time, if any, is devoted to the fourth.  Yet the skill of active listening is of vital importance in our personal and our professional lives.  Most of us take listening for granted - we think it is something that just happens.  "Hearing" happens, but "listening" takes effort!  Active listening is like appreciating the music instead of just hearing the notes.  
A great conversation starts with good listening. However, many times when we should be listening, we are busy thinking about what we are going to say next.  It's all about me!  To be an active listener, that is the first thing that has to change. You have to truly show interest in what the other person is saying. Active listening involves listening with all your senses and fully concentrating on what is being said (and also, what is not being said).
To hone your active listening skills, follow these 8 simple steps:
1.  Give the person your full attention. Focus! 
2.  Avoid distractions (don't check your cell phone or watch, don't fidget, etc.)
3.  Make eye contact.
4.  Watch your posture. (lean forward, tilt your head; don't cross arms)
5.  Listen without interrupting. 
6.  Give non-verbal signs that you are listening. (smile, nod, etc.)
7.  Show interest and understanding. (ask a question, repeat or paraphrase              what the speaker has said to show comprehension)
8.  Listen between the lines.  (words, tone, body language)
Active listening builds trust and establishes rapport, which in turn strengthens
relationships.  When you improve your active listening skills, you will find that people will open up more to you.  You will also avoid misunderstandings and be able to resolve conflicts effectively.   Active listening is a critical management skill.  
Curious to find out how effective you are at active listening?  Take this

                                                  Conceptual image about human earing test. Digital illustration.         

The Science Behind the Art


The first science lesson related to active listening is that God gave us two ears and one mouth.  If we use them in that proportion, listening twice as much as we speak, we are off to a good start!  Let's review some additional scientific information, which will help to reinforce the importance of active listening skills.  


25% - 50%:  Research shows that we only remember 25% - 50% of what we hear.  This is why it is so important to avoid distractions and focus on what the speaker is saying.  In fact, quite frequently we can remember almost exactly what we said but very little of what the other person actually said.  


7%/38%/55%:  When carrying on a conversation face-to-face, the speaker's message is delivered in three parts.  The verbal part is made up of the words that are actually said. The emotional part is what is portrayed by tone and emphasis on certain words.  The nonverbal part of the message is what is revealed by the body language at the time or what is done just after the comment.  Science tells us that in face-to-face conversations, we receive 7% of the message from the words, 38% of the message from the tone, and 55% of the message from the body language.  These three dimensions of communication underscore the importance of "listening between the lines" and using all our senses.  These statistics also explain why many emails are misunderstood - because we have only the words and we often "assume" the underlying tone and nonverbal messaging.  


100 vs. 1000:  The average person speaks at about 100 words per minute. The average person can comprehend between 750 and 1000 words per minute.  When we read, we read at the faster speed.  When we are listening, it is easy for our mind to wander because we can process information much faster than what we are hearing the speaker say.  This is why active listening requires us to keep reminding ourselves to focus on the speaker and the message being delivered.  


If you would like to improve communication and active listening skills in your office, contact SCS.  We offer a variety of onsite communication workshops to meet your needs.  




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