I was at Qdoba tonight and noticed something we’ve all seen and heard a million times. Nobody is listening!
Customer: “… tacos with no rice and black beans.”
Employee: starts putting rice on the tortilla
Customer: “No rice!”
Employee: starts over and slides down the counter, “black or pinto beans?”
The thing about the employee not listening is how we no longer even flinch when we are ignored, we just accept it as normal.
There’s a notable exchange in Pulp Fiction between John Travolta and Uma Thurman:
Mia asks Vincent, “do you listen or do you wait to talk?”
His response is that he usually waits to talk but he’s trying to do a better job listening.
There are very few people who couldn’t be better listeners. Dale Carnegie writes about one of the best listeners in his famous How to Win Friends and Influence People book:
It struck me so forcibly that I shall never forget him. He had qualities which I had never seen in any other man. Never had I seen such concentrated attention. There was none of that piercing ‘soul penetrating gaze’ business. His eyes were mild and genial. His voice was low and kind. His gestures were few. But the attention he gave me, his appreciation of what I said, even when I said it badly, was extraordinary. You’ve no idea what it meant to be listened to like that.”
How are your listening skills?