How often have we tried hard not to interrupt someone while they are talking?
How often are we tempted to jump in and finish someone else’s sentence?
“ARE YOU LISTENING?” is one question we have heard innumerable times in our life – from our parents, teachers, siblings, spouse, colleagues etc and very often, even from our children. It sounds as simple, but listening is not a skill that is easy to master.
In today’s fast-paced and stressful world, communication skills have become more important than ever, but we seem to devote very less time to really listen to one another.
Listening is not just hearing the words spoken to us. Listening skill is an important aspect of effective communication. Listening could be either active or passive. Active listening is the ability to completely focus on the speaker, access and comprehend the message and thoughtfully respond to what we hear. Active listening is an interpersonal communication skill where one is totally engaged while listening and later is able to recall specific details without the information being repeated. Passive listening is the act of just hearing a speaker without retaining the information.
Listening is not a natural or inherited trait. It is a skill that has to be constantly worked upon and practiced. It takes a conscious effort to be a good listener. But, as it is said, we listen not to understand, but to reply, and it is human nature that we love talking more than listening.
So, why is it important to listen more than we talk?
* To expand our span of knowledge and broaden our perspective.
* To gain trust of people around us.
* To solve problems and resolve conflicts.
* To help us develop empathy towards others.
* To improve relationships.
* Because our time is the biggest gift that we can give to someone, not advice.
If we fail to understand the message that is being conveyed to us, we also fail to provide a meaningful response to it. This is the root cause of many arguments and misunderstandings, at home or at work. Listening makes us better leaders, better parents, better friends, and above all, a better human being.
A few tips to be a better listener:
* Stop what you were busy doing and listen maintaining eye contact with the speaker.
* Do not interrupt the speaker.
* Have a positive body language – a pleasant facial expression, nodding of head etc.
* Do not be critical of the language/accent of the speaker.
* Do not try to multitask while listening.
* Do not complete the speaker’s sentences.
* Remember/retain the information shared by the speaker.
“We have two ears, but only one mouth” – an easy way to remember that listening can be twice as important as talking. So, the next time someone comes to us with an ailing heart, do not try to fix it with an earful of advice, but try to just shut up and listen. Because, if speech is silver, silence is golden.
LISTEN ………. PEOPLE START TO HEAL THE MOMENT THEY FEEL HEARD.
–Dr. Premsudha PV