Maybe, but there is a time to stop and listen to your patients, too. We don't just mean letting your patients talk while you think of what you'll tell them next. In fact, listening is a far more important skill than just saying the right combination of words, our body language, or even writing skills for effective communication.
Listening is truly a skill that will open up opportunities for new levels of understanding, trust, and connection with your patients – and that will reflect in your patient satisfaction ratings, referrals, patient buy-in, and profits, as well. Lucky for us, it's also a skill that can be developed with practice.
Many of us have the desire to improve our communication skills, whether it's interacting with patients, CAs and staff, or even becoming a better communicator with friends or family.
First off, some interesting facts about the lost art of listening as the first and best communication tool:
We listen at a rate of 125-250 words per minute,
talk at a rate of 125-175 words per minute,
and think at a rate of 1,000 – 3,000 words per minute.
It's estimated that we comprehend only 25% of what we hear.
We spend 7 out of every 10 minutes of our waking lives communicating with other people.
In an average business day, 45% of our time is spent listening. We're also talking 30% of the time, reading 16%, and writing 9%.
85% of our total knowledge comes from listening.
55% of the meaning in our words is interpreted from facial expressions.
38% of meaning comes from how the words are spoken,
and only 7% of a verbal message is conveyed from the words that are spoken.
Less than 2% of people have any formal education on how to listen properly.
Our brains can only retain about seven bits of information at a time. (That's why we have 7-digit telephone numbers!)
Words are processed by our short-term memory,
but images are logged directly in out long term memories.
Our communication has shifted from interpersonal human speech to interpreting messages and segments of information via social media and technology.
For instance, there are 193,000 text messages sent every second,
more than 60 billion tweets every year,
and well over 1 billion Facebook users in the world.
A study of Fortune 100 companies found that employees send and receive an average of 1,800 messages each day via telephone, email, faxes, memos, and face-to-face.
Great communications skills are the number one trait employers say they want in their employees.
Conversely, a U.S. Department of Labor survey found that 46% of workers who quit their jobs did so because they felt they were not listened to and therefore unappreciated.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the ability to communicate is the most important factor in making someone promotable.
The average business executive spends 75% of his or her time, or 45 minutes out of every hour, communicating with others.
As you can see (or hear!), listening is a far undervalued skill, yet is the most fundamental way to effectively communicate with deep and lasting meaning.
Look for part two of this blog where we outline 10 tips for active listening!