From our earliest years we are trained to give information and express our point of view.

But if you knew the average listening time was just 11 seconds, how might you change your communication behaviour?

red10s Kirsten Campbell has some suggestions.

Is communication out of balance?

Seeking information and giving information are like the yin and yang of communication behaviours; ask a question, get an answer.

Sometimes dialogue works out this way, but often the ratio is much more unbalanced. People give information for about 95% of discussion time.

Giving information is good – but your attention is focused on yourself and it is what Professor Neil Rackham would describe as BLUE in his Behavioural Analysis framework.

Seeking information is a GREEN behaviour because your attention is focused on others. Yet asking questions is not that common. Some people just give information and give and give and give…… – it can be overdone.

Is anyone listening?

Nancy Kline’s latest book cites some surprising research on listening.

According to the Gottman Institute in Seattle, in 2017 the average listening time for even professional listeners was 20 seconds. Three years later it is 11.

Just eleven seconds!

Imagine that we all had our own internal operating system reminding us of this research every time we are in “Giving Information” mode. How might this change our behaviour?

Making “giving information” effective

Knowing the 11 second rule, what would be the major changes in your behaviour when you give information? Could you ……

(a) Work to be crisper and more concise

(b) Get to the point

(c) Say what you really think

(d) Say what you really feel

(e) Only say what really needed to be said

Knowing about the imbalance in “blue” and “green” behaviours, what could you change to make your communication more effective? Could you…….

(a) Make more space for others

(b) When communicating, try to spend 50% of your time in “giving” mode and 50% of your time in “receiving” mode.

A challenge

Giving information, like the other BLUE behaviours is really important but IT CAN be overdone and IT IS, most of the time.

For help to get into the GREEN space, try this article on Seeking Information.

You can read about all the BLUE GREEN RED behaviours here

How about choosing an amount of time today that you think will be a stretch for you and see if you can achieve the 50:50 balance?

Let us know how you get on.