I sat in a dark theater a while back listening to the pre-show announcements. The final words before curtain were, "Please refrain from using your electronic device during the performance. It not only distracts other patrons but may affect the performers on stage."
Listening seems to have gotten away from us. No, really. I am guilty of this bad habit, myself. Nowadays, not only do minds wander but so do hands..., how many of you check email or twitter or text messages while you are sitting in a meeting? Or while on the phone with a client? If you say never, I may be inclined to disbelieve.
Not wanting to miss an opportunity and being eager to respond are good but what else to we miss? When we fail to listen, we fail to catch nuances and chances to earn respect. We all know how important eye contact is when speaking to someone face-to-face or when addressing a crowd. I mean, if you were standing before someone who refused to look directly at you while conversing, how long would that encounter last?
So..., if eye contact is so important, why wouldn't ear contact be just as? Put the device down. Lean back in your chair and remove your hands from your keyboard. Pay attention and you just might catch the next big one as it crosses right in front of you, instead of wondering what you missed as it passed you on by.