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LISTENING: The forgotten component to communication

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jamie Wade
  • 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron commander
Effective communication is the key to a successful organization. We are taught throughout our military career about verbal and written communication. However, one of the most important components of communicating is listening, and we receive very little training on how to be effective listeners. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

Listening is a contributing factor in both a successful career and family life. Learning to develop your listening skills helps you understand the message being told, build relationships, and aids you in leading your Airmen. Many successful leaders and business owners attribute their success to being an effective listener. Winston Churchill stated, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."

We all have to be better listeners. Here are some helpful tips for understanding the importance of listening:

(L)ife is easier if you listen to what is being said
(I) understand what you’re saying; now I am prepared to respond
(S)ome of the best advice in the world is to observe the situation with your ears
(T)oo many times, we answer without speaking, Don’t be closed minded and defensive
(E)liminate non-verbal barriers and provide an opportunity for others to be heard without pre-judging
(N)ever let emotions override your ability to help someone in need or to provide feedback