People do a lot of listening, to smart phones on the way to work, to coworkers in meetings, and to casual conversations. Sometimes it’s hard to continue listening attentively.

There are a number of reasons why we don’t listen.

Sometimes we suffer from something called message overload. Given the amount of speech most of us encounter everyday, makes carefully listening to everything we hear nearly impossible.

Sometimes we are preoccupied. Preoccupation is when we are wrapped up in personal concerns that are of more immediate importance to us than the messages others are sending.

We also fail to listen because of all of the external noises around us. The world in which we live is a noisy one and often presents distractions that make it hard to pay attention to others.

There can also be physiological influences that can affect listening. A large percentage of the adult population has a physiological hearing impairment and cannot distinguish certain sounds, tones, or pitches.

Finally, I think the main reason why we don’t listen is because of a lack of training. Although listening is the first communication skill we learned as babies, and is the most used communication skill by adults, it is the least taught communication skill in our educational system.

Listening is the communication skill we use most often, but is often taken for granted. Listening skills help us hire great people, make great decisions, and produce great products. Listening is free…not listening…is expensive.

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