As a business leader, listening is one of the strongest skills you can have. We encourage you to work on growing this part of your skill set in order to ultimately become a better leader. The next time you get ready to have a conversation with one of your employees, or even anyone in your life, consider these facts:

  • 85% of what we have learned is through listening (not talking or reading).(Shorpe)
  • It takes less than 7 seconds for you to decide if you trust someone or not. Our primitive brain is sorting through what we are listening to and filtering what fits quicker than a blink of the eye. Beware of what you are filtering out! (Glaser)
  • 75% of the time, we are distracted, preoccupied or forgetful. (Hunsaker)
  • After listening to someone talk, we can immediately recall about 50% of what was said. Even less if we didn’t like the subject or the person! (Robinson)
  • One hour later, we remember less than 20% of what we heard. (Shorpe)
  • Less than 2% of the population has had formal education on how to listen. (Gregg)
  • We listen at 125-250 words per minute, but think at 1000-3000 words per minute. (HighGain, Inc.)
  • Most people are uncomfortable with silence and can only last less than 10 seconds before having to ask a question or say something to break the silence. (Hopkins)

When listening, try to suspend your assumptions, refrain from making judgments, and silence your inner chatter long enough to listen, really listen, to what the other person is saying. As Deborah Tannen, author of many books on communication writes, “It’s a sign of respect. It makes people feel valued.”