"The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said." — Peter F. Drucker
Listening is key to all effective communication, without the ability to listen effectively messages are easily misunderstood – communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated.
Hearing and Listening, though synonymous, are completely different things. Hearing refers to the sounds that you hear, whereas listening requires more than that: it requires focus. Listening means paying attention not only to the story, but how it is told, the use of language and voice, and how the other person uses his or her body. In other words, it means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages. Your ability to listen effectively depends on the degree to which you perceive and understand these messages.
Listening is not automatic.
It takes practice.
It takes intention.
It is a skill — one that is capable of being not only honed, but lost.
Good listeners become good communicators. They understand the importance of speaking clearly in an easy to understand manner. When it's hard to interpret what you mean, you greatly increase the chances of a misunderstanding.