John C. Maxwell tells this story in his book, Leadership Gold.

A couple of redneck hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground.

He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are rolled back in his head.

The other redneck starts to panic, then whips out his cell phone and calls 911.

He frantically blurts out to the operator, “My friend Bubba is dead! What can I do?”

The operator, trying to calm him down says, “Take it easy. I can help. Just listen to me and follow my instructions. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.”

There’s a short pause, and then the operator hears a loud gun shot!

The redneck comes back on the line and says, “OK, now what?”

Sometimes, it’s easy to hear the words without listening to the real message.

We think that we know what’s being said, but we don’t clarify the situation before jumping to unnecessary and unhelpful conclusions.

We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. Let’s become better and more skilled listeners.

In doing so, we’ll improve our relationships, have a better understanding of each other and reduce confusion.

For further reading, here are 5 Tips for Becoming a More Effective Listener.

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