“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law…………..”
I hear this in my mind when I try to start a conversation so I just end up listening. Listening is the most important communication skill and yet we are not taught about it. Recently, I have been trying to be a better listener. I assumed I was a good listener but was disappointed to realize the contrary. I blamed people for not listening and chose not to speak at all. Most people want to be heard in gossip, tweets, social gathering etc. When our ideas are recognized it gives us a feeling of self satisfaction and reinforces our interdependence in this society. I honestly, am one of the people who likes being listened to. Not being listened to causes a sense of loneliness, It is similar to being with our relatives. They are close but they cannot comprehend our problems because our worlds are galaxies apart. We cannot control others but at least we can listen actively.
Active listening happens when we are free from our stereotypes. It’s not possible to change our perspectives entirely but we can listen with a clear mind for a short time. When I was in school, our teachers would occasionally tell us a small story in the morning chapel. I would forget about my daily issues and allow they speaker to capture my imagination. This is active listening, It didn’t matter who was speaking, the tone of their voice or my state of mind. Sadly, I didn’t do it when the same teachers taught us academia so I live in my parents attic now :P. I could easily listen to a story but did not do the same for my lessons. My point being, active listening is when we clear our minds and let the speaker test our imagination and reasoning. This happens automatically when we are interested but we need to enhance our listening skills to reciprocate it when needed.
One of the mistakes I make frequently is correlating the speaker’s episode to my experience before listening completely. It happened with my brother, he would speak and I immediately pick up an experience by listening to the keywords. This is very wrong as I never took the patience to listen completely, Usually people just want to be listened to ease their burden. Our opinions and advice is not really helpful in that context. That is when they seek empathy and listening emphatically comes with cultivating compassion. In a crude way, I find out if people are empathetic by observing how much they remember the next time we converse. Mostly people are forgetful so it’s not accurate but gives a fair idea
We are worse listeners than we give ourselves credit for so we cannot blame others for not listening. I have a lot to work on my listening skills, I hope I helped to introspect on yours too. Summing what I have learned an ideal listener is one who listens actively showing empathy with a clear mind. We can improve each attribute one at a time to gain good mastery over listening. This is the summary of a book on listening I have been reading, thought it would help.
Listen! Have a nice day
2 thoughts on “Hear ye, hear ye!”
If not for the last line in the article, I would have requested you to publish it!!!
It is really an excellent article, both in content and in presentation….
Anyway, thanks for reminding us of such an important fact that most of us (myself included) have forgotten quite conveniently….
It explains why great leaders are good listeners.. Thank You