A recent blog by Team Management Systems likened active listening to playing the game of ‘Chinese Whispers’. Even when the starting person initiates the game with a simple, short sentence and distractions are kept to a minimum in a quiet room – the end person still doesn’t always get the complete and accurate message as it was initially spoken.
Imagine playing the game with a lengthy sentence containing complex words and adding numerous other distractions. Now it is starting to look more like a typical communication scenario in a busy and vibrant workplace. We have more chance of hearing what is being said if we minimize distractions, keep our communications simple and ask questions to clarify if we have heard correctly and understand as the initiator of the communication intended.