Today my question for you readers is do you listen? Do you really listen or do you just think you listen? I have run into several situations recently that have shown me that people don’t really listen to what others are saying if it is not what they want to hear.
My first encounter with this was at the supermarket. For a little background, this supermarket has a rewards program that lets you get to up 50 cents off of the price of gas depending on the amount you have purchased. An older gentleman was standing taking with the customer service clerk when I walked. He was telling the clerk that the amount on his card was incorrect. After each purchase, your balance is shown on the receipt. The clerk was very nice and told the gentleman that her computer system cannot show his past transactions and that she would give him a phone number to call the central office to get things cleared up. He completely ignored what she said to him and kept going on that his balance was wrong, the program sucked (much stronger words were used), and that he was going to throw the @#!@ card away. Again she repeated what she had said. He kept on with his tirade. This went on for more than five minutes while I was standing there watching the scene unfold. The clerk was wonderful and never got upset with him even though he was irate.
He obviously didn’t want to listen because it wasn’t the result he wanted. He wanted immediate satisfaction no matter what.
My most recent experience with someone not wanting to listen happened this morning at work while I was giving a training session. I was coming towards the end of the training when the boss finally walks in. He sits down and I start to review what we had gone over. All of a sudden, the boss goes off on a tangent that has nothing to do with m y topic. He starts to rant that I should not be doing any programming work to create a better system without being requested to do so. I explained to him that I was given a request and I had completed that task several weeks ago. But he would not listen and kept ranting on this other topic. Several people in the room spoke up about how this feature had gone through company procedure and a formal request was given to me and that I had completed the task. No matter what anyone said, he just kept on and on. It was finally mentioned that the initial request had come from him. That didn’t even stop the ranting. Again, all he was concerned with was what he wanted even if he had no clue as to what had transpired and been accomplished. All this did was to spread a feeling of ill will through all the employees that the meeting.
I try to listen to people when they talk to me. I really try my best to pay attention to what they say. In doing so, I really get to pick up on things and get to know the person more than they realize. Several people have asked me how I am able to come up with such great gifts for people during birthdays and holidays. It is because I listen. People will tell you things about themselves without ever realizing it. You blog hostess can confirm that as we have known each other for over fifteen years and she still seems to get a bit surprised at gifts I come up with for their family.
Many of my friends have gone through a divorce. In watching them interact with their spouses, it is obvious to me that one or both of them don’t listen to what the other is trying to say. They get so wrapped up in what they want, they completely block out the other person. Then they wonder what is going on when problems start.
So I put out another challenge. Think about whether or not you really listen. Start paying attention to what people are saying. Some of my most entertaining moments come from just listening to other people talking while out in public. You just might be surprised what you hear.
~The Quiet Computer Guy