My cold has persisted. The last few days, this has resulted in my head being so stopped up I can’t hear very well. Late last week, two people were talking in my office door (I had my back turned) and I didn’t even hear them. Yesterday, I was in a (loud) restaurant with a large group, and found it very difficutly to follow conversations, as voices just ran together. Today, I taught a class and could not hear the usual low rumble and softer talk. I suppose I’m getting a small taste of what it’s like to be deaf.And I find that it affects my communication. In the group setting, I found that I talked a lot less (which is unusual for me!) as I had to really work to listen. I’m sure those around me appreciated it, but they may not have known why. In the classroom setting (where I’m expected to drive the conversation), since I couldn’t hear the murmur of folks who have questions but aren’t the type to boldly proclaim them I likely moved on where I would normally hear the unrest and stop to address the situation. In my estimation, the discussion became much more one-sided than normal — not my preference for a classroom learning experience.The lesson to take away is how much good listening should be a part of our communication. If you’re not taking clues from your listeners/audience and tailoring your communication to what you perceive, you’re missing a great way to interact and meet their needs. You can get those clues in other ways, but tuning all the senses is important to gather all the information.And if you’re hearing-impaired, you have my empathy and respect. It is exhausting to spend so much energy attempting to take in data that usually comes without effort.

Good listening is important to meeting an audience’s needs.

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