Yesterday, I picked up my sons after their first day of the Jamie Dixon Basketball Camp at the University of Pittsburgh’s Peterson Events Center. They excitedly started to tell me what they did and learned.
“Dad, Coach Dixon talked about how there’s a difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is when you are aware of sounds but listening is when you understand what was said.”
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’ve made this same point every season that I’ve coached my sons in football and basketball. I knew that being their Dad and their coach meant they would tune a lot of things out. But hearing a specific example made an impact on me.
Part of the problem might have been my delivery. It also could be the other speaker is a nationally known, hugely successful basketball coach—the messenger has clout. Or it could be that they’re kids. Most likely it is a combination of all three.
Regardless, there are some clear takeaways.
Think about when you communicate with your co-workers, staff or boss. Are you doing enough to make sure your message gets through?
Outside “experts” will typically make more of an impact with a similar message. You can be frustrated and argue how unfair this is. Or you can accept and even embrace it. Bring in outside speakers to talk to your team. Ask a major client to address the troops. Bring people from your network and throughout your organization in to talk about how they do what they do. Even if they are saying the same things as you, it helps with retention of the message and brings credibility.
Also keep your message and delivery fresh, interesting and interactive. The next time I bring up the Hearing vs. Listening message, I’ll ask if they remember what Jamie Dixon said. And, I’m going to freshen up other messages so the stories are more memorable.
As I drove away, I reminded my sons that Jamie Dixon is one of the best in his profession. I emphasized how he combined talent, drive, enthusiasm and hard work to make it at the highest level. Maybe they actually were hearing and listening this time.