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Communication and Listening Skills in the Workplace

By Kristy Davis

I recently went to a business meeting in Woodbridge. However the client told me the meeting was in Vaughan, which is confusing because the two places may be pretty close to one another but that is like saying PEI is pretty close to New Brunswick.

To clarify, the Confederation Bridge spanning from PEI to New Brunswick is 12.9 km long. The distance from Woodbridge town center to Vaughan town center is 17.4 km. It may only take 24 minutes to drive from Vaughan to Woodbridge in a car, but that doesn't mean they are as close as some people might think.

Fortunately I looked up the address prior to leaving and used the GPS navigation on my phone, otherwise I might have ended up in the wrong city trying to find an address that did not exist in Woodbridge.

Thus you start to realize how important communication skills are during business dealings. Or listening skills for that matter. What if I had heard them wrong and they had actually meant to meet in Bridgetown (the capitol of the Barbados, not even near Toronto) or Severn Bridge (north of Barrie).

It reminds me of that one scene from 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' when Indy yells at Elsa "Are you crazy? Don't go in between them!" and she yells back "Go between them? Are you crazy?!"


So yes, I went to my meeting in Vaughan and during the meeting I determined the business client was getting pretty old and I believe they need a hearing aid. I then recommended them an audiologist who is in Woodbridge/Vaughan (I know, I know - they are two separate places!) that I found using a Google search and checking Yelp reviews. I don't think he took me seriously enough however - don't tell anyone but I also think the client was going senile. Hard to tell if he was going deaf or senile or both.

Senility and deafness just seem to go hand in hand when it comes to senior citizens. I think my father is going this way. If he doesn't hear something, he doesn't know about it. And even if he does hear it, he often forgets about it or is confused by what I am talking about. Sometimes I worry he is just pretending to be able to hear people talking so that we don't know how bad his hearing problems are, and then we interpret his lack of comprehension due to senility when it reality it is that he is only catches bits and pieces of the conversation and isn't hearing the whole conversation in a manner that he can understand it. Or maybe he is going both deaf and senile. It is very difficult to say.

I have a friend who tutors sports and one of the things he recently encountered was a teenage student who did not listen. The student didn't have a hearing disability, he just refused to listen to the instructions being given to him. My friend however was having difficulty teaching the student because they could not tell whether the student was being deliberately stubborn and refusing to listen (as some teenagers like to do) or if the student had a learning disability that caused them to ignore instructions when given a list of things to do.

My conclusions are that regardless of the task you need people to be able to understand what you are talking about, and this hinges on you both communicating in an adequate manner and the person receiving the information has to be able to hear and understand it. First being able to hear something and then being able to comprehend it.


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