"And the beat goes on......................."
The Art of Listening:
Most people like to talk more than they like to listen. They like to hear what they have to say about something, but not always what someone else has to say. And even when they are focused on listening, they often don't really hear or understand what the other person has said.
Clearly one of the most useful of business skills is the ability to really listen; to hear what is being said and, most importantly, to be able to process what one hears and relate that information to a given situation. I'm not talking about remembering what someone said, but rather understanding what they were actually saying - the meaning of their words, particularly in the realistic application of the meaning to one's circumstances.
I suspect very few people are really any good at that. Like the Paul Simon line: "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest", I think what most of us do is project onto what someone else says, what we want to hear. The net impact of that is a high degree of misinterpretation - and that can cause serious problems in business because it lulls us into thinking a scenario will play out that very likely will not. And that in turn wastes time - the one precious commodity which is perpetually in short supply and which none of us can afford to squander.
One of the hardest things for people to hear is rejection, or any kind of 'no' response.