It is said that 80 percent of our success in learning from other people, is based on how well we listen. Ironically, however, most people think listening is passive. They think they are supposed to just sit there and ‘hear someone out’.
Often considered as ‘the easiest thing to do’, listening actively might sound like a fallacy, especially when we are told that many of our interpersonal problems at home or in the work place stem from the fact that we do not listen and do not think before we speak.
Guilty as charged! But, we have our reasons too.
It seems at times too many stressors are working on our lives, and we seem to run out of the patience to listen, when arguments erupt. Often, the first thing we do is to lash out, and within seconds, we have a crisis of miscommunication on our hands that could have been avoided.
Not everyone has the ability to listen, but every individual has the potential to become good listeners. You may ask, how. Well, when we talk about effective communication, we often infer it has everything to do with how we speak. But we forget the fact that effective communication is a two-way process and therefore, we do need to listen effectively, and, in equal measure, to get the most out of it.
So, how do we become good listeners?
Here are a few simple techniques to follow, in order to listen effectively:
- Give your full attention to the speaker and do not interrupt.
- Do not finish the other person’s sentences.
- Refrain from the temptation of saying -“I knew that.”
- You need not agree with the other person.
- Avoid getting distracted or letting your eyes or attention wander elsewhere while the other person is talking.
- It is always a good practice to maintain the dialogue by asking intelligent questions that show you’re paying attention, and at the same time, moving the conversation forward.
There is a simple truth behind why we ought to listen twice as much as we talk – God has given us two ears but only one mouth. To listen, we must try to learn tranquility. Only then can we be ready to quieten our mind. It is not enough just to have the will to listen to people. One must really listen. Only then does the magic begin.
Do you have any interesting experience to share about a time when you listened to someone with undivided attention or when someone gave you theirs?
Linking up with #WritingWednesdays hosted on Write Tribe.