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United Way of Southwest Alabama / President's Desk  / President’s Blog – World Listening Day
July President's Blog - World Listening Day

President’s Blog – World Listening Day

When Leslie Schraeder sent this month’s topic to me, I had no idea what World Listening Day was. According to National Today’s website, “The aim of the day is to cultivate better listening and understanding, and learning from the underrated act.” Basically, talk less; listen more.

The National Today’s website notes the following statistics:

  1. The average person hears 20,000 to 30,000 words per day.
  2. Individuals spend 70% of their days in some type of communication.
  3. Humans can listen to 450 words per minute.
  4. We retain approximately 25% of what we hear.

Listening across Boundaries will serve as this year’s theme for World Listening Day with the purpose to listen across branches of knowledge.

I was surprised at the actual meaning of the theme. When I first saw the theme, I thought that it related more to people listening to each other from different walks-of-life and not about different academic disciplines.

Listening to people who have different worldviews, different experiences, and different backgrounds aids leaders in finding solutions, creating meaningful change, and building strong community ties.

Those of us charged with community planning need to listen without boundaries. We should listen without judgement; listen to hear; listen to understand. As leaders, we may assume that we have the answers; we may assume that we know what people need and want; we may assume that we know what is right.

Maybe, if we listen without boundaries, we can effectively plan and implement progressive changes to improve the quality of life and actually do what is needed not what we think is needed.

So on July 18, consciously practice the art of listening. Maybe you will hear something you have never heard.