Ask me what I mean by “AOL” and you will not be surprised when I answer that it is the “Art Of Listening”. No, not the other thingy. Most of you will be familiar with the terms “Auditory”, “Visual” and “Kinesthetic” (AVK). Google the terms yourself if you wish to find out more. Generally, it appears that the proportions are Visual: 40%, Auditory 25% and Kinesthetic 35%. It seems that we have a preference for one particular “style” or “representational system” over the others. However, we also seem to be able to switch from one preference to the other depending on time and circumstance. For me, I am more of a visual person, but I can appreciate good music, and I don’t need any accompanying visuals. I will hum to the tune or sing if I want to. It depends on the setting and a lot of other things. Also, interestingly, if people express a problem in a visual way, for example, then expressing the solution in a different manner, say, kinesthetically, is probably a healthy sign.
I wonder if the proportions were perhaps more balanced in the past. The sense of hearing is a primary sense. It appears to be the first sense to be activated in the womb and probably the last sense to fade at death. All my senses come into play when I receive information from the environment I happen to find myself in. When learning something new, I find that internalizing the learning only comes when I apply as many senses as appropriate in the learning process. When I served in the Infantry, we used all – visual, auditory and kinesthetic, and sometimes olfactory as well, in the course of work. Plans and orders were delivered both orally and visually. Rehearsals, whether tabletop or full troop, were conducted so as to get a feel of what was envisaged should happen. Rehearsals were particularly important in getting the sequence of events right. For example, when capturing a Built Up Area, it was extremely important for everyone to be fully aware of the spatial orientations of the different buildings relative to each other, who would be doing what and when. Failure to do so meant high casualties. Losing sweat was of course vastly preferred over losing blood. I take it similar preferences run when choosing between expending resources in people development in your business and wasting resources overcoming internal friction, not to mention losing opportunities and profits. So, engaging all three or more of the senses is very important.
Are you a good listener? What would others say about that? When we listen, we don’t just listen with our ears, we listen with our hearts. In other words, do we really take an interest in others? Or are we too busy making our own voices heard and pushing our own agendas? In this day and age when basically everyone has a broadcasting station, have we lost the ability to genuinely listen? Have we become so absorbed in selling ourselves that we have forgotten to ask what people really need and want?
The answer to that lies within yourself.