Why Listening is Not a “Soft Skill”
“So, you just listen?”
When we heard that question several years ago from a consultant, our hearts sank.
We’ve heard it before and we’ll hear it again. It’s frustrating every time. However, we realize that those of us striving to model great listening skills in our work, our personal lives, and our communities are facing a tremendous uphill battle.
So many people think of listening as a “soft skill,” a term we’ve come to dislike passionately. “Soft” implies it’s lesser than, something minor, less important than computer literacy, scientific understanding, academic proficiency, mathematical prowess, or analytical skills. All of these are important; they are vital and worthy skills to possess.
So is intentional and presence-focused listening. focusing on the speaker — attuned to their inflections and expressions, — noticing their body language, and finding meaning in what’s not said isn’t exactly easy.
Listening is deeply underrated as a skill. Yet, we would say that listening is the most important skill we need to have. It needs to be at the top of the list of skills to master and model if we want to have more authentic relationships and more impactful connections. Listening is at the core of successful relationships and cannot be short-changed if we want our relationships – professional and personal – to be meaningful and satisfying.
Our new book – Listening 2by2: A Paradigm Shift for Leaders (That’s When the Magic Happens!) addresses this need – for overcoming the pandemic-level disconnection from one another that far too many of us experience every day of our lives.
No, we don’t just listen.
Someone To Tell It To enables deeper connections with others through our listening and listening training work. Listening well with intention, being actively present with one another, suspending judgments, dispensing with platitudes, and respecting the inherent human worth of those to whom we listen is hard work. If it would be easier, then we’d all be much better at doing it.
But we can be better. We need to be better.
Someone To Tell It To can show you the way to deepen your listening skills, and by proxy, interpersonal and business relationships, to create a healthier, more caring, more connected culture.
That’s why we wrote our book.
Listening 2by2: A Paradigm Shift for Leaders (That’s When the Magic Happens!) will show you how to do it better.
Listening is not a “soft skill.” It’s the number one most effective skill we can possess to make our relationships the healthiest they can be. We need to name it that and value it for how it can positively change our lives. In fact, if you deem listening as a soft skill, you probably aren’t incorporating listening into your work environment and your team members feel it. It shows when you’re not listening.
We don’t “just listen.” We “simply listen,” putting other distractions aside, and do the hard work that enables us all to connect in better and more fruitful, satisfying ways.