Listening is a very important skill – it is the gateway to unearth veneered opportunities, appeal to potential suitors and is considered among the most important skills that we should embrace, yet how many of us are good listeners?
We communicate ad nauseam day and night, but how much of it is actual listening and how much hearing? For example, a wife attempting to communicate with her husband often remarks, “Are you listening to me.” The husband retorts, “Yes dear, I can hear you and so can the neighbours”; A perfect case where the husband is perhaps, only paying half-attention and indulging in reactive hearing, which is different from concrete listening. I may as well add here that the wife may delineate similar spontaneous response when she is expected to listen.
Put on a melodious song and invariably, you will observe people listening to it with rapt attention or enjoy the lyrics and rhythm. This elucidates the true definition of listening that encompasses hearing, understanding and remembering, and not just a constituent of the listening exercise – hearing.
Why is listening important:
True listening encourages communication. By becoming better listeners we create an engaging, receptive and cordial atmosphere at work and home, and reduce conflicts and misunderstandings. A good listener can also charm people easily: A famous story will rest my case – A well known novelist/writer was enjoying a cup of coffee in a hotel when a lady approached him and expressed a desire to talk to him. Talk she did…endlessly, while the writer did pin his ears back and enjoyed her chatter. At the end of the natter, she was mighty pleased, thanked him and remarked, “Sir you are a wonderful conversationalist.” The novelist knew that to be an interesting conversationalist you have to first be a good listener. While the lady spoke more, it was his listening dexterity that caught the lady’s fascination.
Listening is an innate skill, and yet can be the most difficult to master. If you are not an accomplished listener you will miss out on opportunities to grow and to profit. Listening is vital, but it requires practice. Here are some basic rules to get you to become a proficient listener:
- When you listen, you should not make the other person feel that he or she is talking to a wall. The occasional nod of the head or a slight lean towards the person who is talking enhances the listening process, which becomes a part of the body language as well.
- Attention and concentration can be made known through eye contact, an occasional smile, questions or occasional comments on what is being said.
- Do not jump to an early conclusion – simply put, keep your opinion to yourself till you have heard and comprehended what is being communicated.
- Remember the eternal truth – We have TWO EARS for a reason and that is to be used more than ONE MOUTH.
When we do not listen, we do not learn, and when we listen we create endearing relationships, as also open ourselves to hidden opportunities to gain. Listening is imperative to enjoy life with all its splendour. Think about it and act on it NOW.