Learning to listen

Just because we hear doesn’t mean we listen. You’d think as a journalist, I’d know this, but it’s a lesson I didn’t really learn until I got married.

We are just two months away from our one year anniversary and it’s been quite the adventure so far! Marriage is wonderful, but it isn’t always easy. The most beautiful part has been the personal growth and transformation. Over the last 10 months, hububs has grown…and so have I.

Marriage made me realise how much I need to grow as a leader and communicator: I hear, but I don’t always listen. I’m really taking this one to heart. I do this for a living, after all–I should be better at this! During our pre-marital counselling with our church, we talked about active listening and we practiced it. I’ve also discussed active listening in my leadership courses. But active listening is one of those things you don’t realise you’re not doing until you realise you’re not getting anywhere.

I began to examine my listening skills in other areas of my life, specifically work. The growing demands on reporters means we’re doing more in a day, with the same amount of time we’ve always had (i.e. not enough). When I would shoot my own stories, I heard many interviews, but there was no time to listen to them, digest them, analyze them–there was simply no time, fam. The pace was frenetic. My work situation is much better now, but all signs point towards the pace not letting up: I fight against the current drawing me into a sea of content producers.

Truth is if I’m not a good listener, I’m not a good storyteller. Listening takes time; it requires commitment…and humility. When you’re the loudest person in the room, you can’t hear–and you certainly aren’t listening. We treat eachother better, appreciate one another more, when we listen.