he turned to his trusty minister and ordered: “I want you to carpet the entire kingdom by tomorrow morning, or it's off with your head!”
The poor minister sat up half the night thinking about this impossible task, and knowing full well that he would surely lose his head come morning. Suddenly, just as the sun began to rise, his fear turned to joy. He had an idea. Bounding from his bed, he ran to the royal carpetorium.
When the king awoke the next morning he jumped quickly out of bed and hurried to the royal window to view his carpet covered kingdom. Seeing not one inch of carpet anywhere he began bellowing for the minister roaring wildly. “Minister, Where's my minister? I'll have his head!”
At that very moment, the minister appeared at the king's door clutching a pair of very foreign objects in his hands. “Oh your highness, please be so kind as to try these first,” he begged. The king agreed, and in the wink of an eye the minister slipped the world's first pair of carpet slippers onto the king's royal feet.
Instantly the king's anger turned to delight. Shuffling around the room with the softness of the finest carpet in the kingdom beneath his feet, all he could do was smile with every step.
The moral of this story relates to effective listening and finding something to get interested in. It is about listening for more than we are accustomed to, and turning every interaction into a challenge. Throughout life we often find ourselves in situations we don't like and can't change; we can, however, learn how to change our own experience and gain valuable insights along the way. Most of us do not realize the importance of listening as a communicative tool. Yet studies have shown that we actually spend 50% more time listening than we do talking. We often take listening for granted, never realizing that it is a skill that can be learned.
Listening -- we do it constantly. So why read to learn what we already know how to do? Listening is natural!
Or...is it? Ineffective listening is one of the most frequent causes of: misunderstandings mistakes lower employee productivity and morale missed sales lost customers increased employee turnover
Ineffective listening is also acknowledged to be one of the primary contributors to divorce and to the inability of a parent and child to openly communicate.
And, people view poor listeners as self-centered, disinterested, preoccupied, and social boors!
If all of these negatives result from ineffective listening, why don't we listen effectively?
Watch someone who listens attentively. He/she makes eye contact and focuses on the other person while he/she listens. He/she listens with his eyes as well as his ears. While listening, he nods or makes attentive noises from time-to-time. This is both a skilled listener and an attentive listener.
The person he/she is listening to feels a sense of communication. Everyone wins with beneficial listening.
After your next conversation, test your ability to benefit from listening to that conversation. Analyze and ask yourself:
What did I learn from the other person(s)?
What did I learn about the other person(s)?
Who did more talking?
Who did more listening?
Did anyone interrupt?
What questions should I have asked?
What questions should I have answered more thoroughly?
Was I absolutely certain I understood everything?
Did I ask for clarification?
Did I practice acknowledgment?
Did he or she practice acknowledgment?
Were both parties attending?
Was the conversation balanced?
Did anyone keep changing the subject?
Did anyone get angry?
Did anyone appear sad?
Was everyone paying attention?
What will I do different in my next conversation?
The ability to listen is a skill that can be improved with use. This skill can and will improve all your relationships with friends, mates, partners, children, and co-workers, even your boss!