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I Know You Can Hear Me, But Are You Listening?

If you were ever a kid - and most of us were - you probably heard at least one adult chide you with the following;

"Yes, I know you heard me. But did you listen?"

If you didn't get it as a kid, you've probably heard a similar sentiment from a coworker. It's a part of the human condition to want to be heard and understood. Unfortunately it's also part of human nature to zone out on a phone call as we sort through emails, browse the internet, or enjoy our lunch.

One frequently cited study illustrated that approximately 50% of human to human communication is non-verbal. The research revealed that:

  • 7% of the messages we receive in conversation come from the literal meaning of the words we speak.
  • 38% from context and inflection
  • 55% from facial expressions and body language.

Data like this helps shed some light on why we are so often misunderstood in our emails. And maybe it explains the company wide memo from HR on 'email etiquette' we get every year or so.

Hear More. Listen Better

So what can be done to help us hear each other? If you can't all be in the same place, but collaboration is required, a video conference can save valuable time and aggravation by preventing simple misunderstandings.

Along with improving overall message comprehension, VTC technology can also improve overall collaboration during conference call - as well as organization after the call. There are VTC systems that provide interactive tools (for example shared documents, images, spreadsheets). there are also systems that allow you to record and save a teleconference for future viewing by those who could not attend, or for accurate recall for those who did. These collaboration tools provide for better project organization and efficiency. Of course all parties involved still need to listen, focus, and contribute. But with all the tools VTC provides for listening and sharing, there is great potential to spare yourself confusion and frustration.

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