12 months ago

Do you hear what I hear?

A thoughtful discussion on paying attention

By: Amy Salawu and Christian Joshua


So this post started out as an experiment in effective listening and understanding instruction to the latter.  We all know someone or are guilty ourselves of not listening to a speaker or not getting full details to instructions.  Cutting someone off in the middle of a sentence, thinking of an answer while the person is talking, talking over someone, or worse – the person who seems fully attentive, but completely misses the point.  The thing is it doesn’t happen only in live conversations.  More and more, we see it in written conversations.  Social media, smart phones, they have all changed the way we communicate, not for the better.


You have prboblay sene teh psot no Fabecook taht cotnanis mispseldl wrdos dna yte you can rdea teh enrite setnecne wtihtou isuse.  So why is it that if we can comprehend an entire sentence of misspelled words without even noticing, we fail to retain the information in the sentence?  So began my experiment.


Several very well written (in my opinion), thoughtful blog posts with nice graphics received little or no comment.  Now, I was fairly certain it was not because I couldn’t write – if that were the case, you wouldn’t be here now.  No, instead I thought it must be what one of my employers calls “readingsintosis”.  This disease, simply defined is the lack of attention to detail in reading a post larger than two sentences.  We scan, pick up pieces, grab what we feel is important and move on.  Generally, the moving on is an immediate thoughtless response asking a question that was answered in the post had the reader bothered to pay attention.  This is then followed by huffing, puffing, shaking of the head, and a smack to the forehead wondering how in the world people have survived so long with this debilitating disease.


So, my experiment was to place a short post on Facebook and other sites and see how people responded.  The post read:  “If you know anyone interested to work for 3 days at an event, #50,000 per day on 29th, 30th and 31st February, 2018, let me know.  It’s urgent.”  Now, I know the words “IT’S URGENT”, found at the end of a job posting are going to get immediate reactions.  Marketing 101 – create a sense of urgency.  How many of you read that and wished you had seen it to apply – 50K a day for 3 days – na wa o!  I could take the rest of the month off with that pay.


Now – how many of you went back and read it again to see what the error was?  Of those who saw the error, many admitted they had to go back and read it twice to catch it.  February 2018 has only 28 days – this is not a leap year so the job is bogus.  You cannot work on days that do not exist.  Simple.  But, the results were incredibly disappointing.


Now this started because of low results on some LinkedIn posts.  LinkedIn is a social business site where people are presumably seeking information, looking to follow others who are successful.   Of four posts, the highest view count is 600, where I have 17000+ contacts.  Out of the 17000 followers, I received 600 views or less and no comments.  On this crazy post I made on my social media handles most especially LINKEDIN, there were more than 7,000 views and over 700 comments in less than 72 hours.  My phone was blowing up like I was Bruno Mars with an open invitation to my home.  Of those calling and commenting – every single one of them were asking to apply for the job.  They never took the time to comprehend the message, did not realize it was a joke. For those whom never commented to my post on whatsapp, suddenly I became a star.


Now, part of this can perhaps be a product of our current economy, but even at that, what kind of person are you when you cannot read and comprehend a simple post of two sentences?  Imagine – a Pastor who teaches wanted to send me TWELVE people.  A Human Resource Manager contacted me offering staff. CEO of a company negotiating a higher pay of N90,000 per day as against N50,000 per day, for someone whom she wanted me to accept for the job.  These are well respected professionals, yet they failed to realize a simple error which only required two seconds of thought to realize it was a joke.  These same people will now be upset at the writer instead of themselves.  What kind of mentality do we possess these days?


We need to stop being lazy, in our thinking and our actions.  We need to educate ourselves, use our brains, not be quick to jump and reply without fully understanding.  If I am posting a job, do you think I would hire the person who called me and asked how much is the pay when I clearly posted it?  Will I hire the person who tells me they can’t read all that detail; please can I just explain to them what the job entails?  These are lazy people, lazy thinkers.  I would not hire such a person for my company, they will continue to be lazy, ruin my company, and then come with excuses for their laziness.


So, what is my point?  It’s simple.

  • Take the time to think.
  • Listen carefully,
  • Pay attention to details and
  • Seek out information.


Instead of reading jokes, random broadcasts and junk videos, seek mind opening content, improve yourself every single day.  Pay attention, question content and ask yourself – does this make sense?  How many of you click on the link in WhatsApp saying you can get the new colors or the new icon?  There is no such thing, but thousands still click it and rebroadcast to all their contacts.  WhatsApp knows who their users are – why would they need to have you broadcast?  Think about the perception you create when you post useless content or ask questions that were already answered.  You obviously have access to internet, why not research and be the person who informs, listen and grasp instructions?


One of my professors once said to me, “Seek to be a constant learner.  You never know everything, everyone has something to contribute.  The day we stop learning is the day we stop living.”  Do not allow yourself to be content with what you know, do not insist others are wrong.  Instead listen, try to understand where they are coming from, perhaps their knowledge will expand yours.  We are too quick to judge, jump to conclusions, and argue our points.  Rather, we should be seeking to learn from every experience, every encounter.


Final words – you have two ears and one mouth for a reason – listen twice as much as you speak and your relationships will grow personally and professionally.


Thank you for taking the time to read.  Share, join us by subscribing and let’s learn from each other! Some links for your learning pleasure:

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