“If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?”
The scientific approach says, a tree will make waves in the air, but to produce a sound, it takes an ear to hear it. So the question is, if you attend a talk show or a consultancy, and you do not really listen, then is it even real communication? Evidently, listening is the missing half of any communication. It is absolutely necessary, but often overlooked. We live in an age that we call the Age of Communication. Certainly, with a wide variant of cell phones, texts, tweets, and mails, there is a lot of talking going on. Although, how much listening can there really be with this ever booming interruption and distraction?
From family feuds to boardroom battles, from labour strikes to civil wars, there is explicitly a lot of talking. But is there that much listening? We think of negotiations circled around fluent and persuasive talking. In fact, what it really is about is the art of listening. If you examine the behaviour of successful negotiators, you will notice that they listen far more than they talk. After all, we are given two ears and one mouth for a reason. The lock, stock and barrel is to focus at listening twice as much as we speak. However, why? Why is listening so overrated?
The Cost Of Listening
When you listen to a person, he is more ready to listen to you. Here, are three major reasons why one should listen. The first being that it helps us understand the other side.Communication, after all, is an exercise in influence. You are trying to change someone else’s mind. How can you feasibly change how someone thinks when you do not even know where their mind is. Listening is the key. After all, everybody wants to be heard. Listening may be the cheapest concession we can afford to make in a negotiation. It costs us absolutely nothing. However, it brings oodles of benefits. Listening is the golden key that opens the door to human relations. So read more to find out how do you inherit the noble virtue of listening and how do you actually listen?
Listening The Voice Beyond The Words
It turns out that we often take listening for granted. Real genuine listening is something that needs to be learned and practised every single day. In ordinary listening, we hear the words. We then think Where to agree or Where to disagree? or What to say in response? Stating otherwise, the primary subject is us. However, in genuine listening, the spotlight moves to the other person. We put ourselves in their shoes. We try to tune in to their wavelengths and listen from within their frame of reference, not just ours. This altogether is not easy. With all intents and purposes, the objective is not to listen what is being said. Instead it is to hear what is not being said. The key is to listen to not just the words, but to what is behind the words.
To target the underlying emotions, feelings, and needs is what real listening is. We listen for what that person really needs or wants. If an activity as organic as listening can do so much wonders, then why is everyone not doing it?
Clear the Clutter
Truth said, it is not all easy to learn to listen. It is because there is so much going on in our heads. There is so much distraction and noise that we do not have the mental or emotional space to be able to truly listen to the other side. Now the question is, how do we clear our minds? It may seem odd, but the magic wand is, if you want to listen to the other side, we have to learn to listen to ourselves first. What if, before any important or delicate conversation, we take a moment of silence to just tune in and listen to where we are. If we learn listening to ourselves, it will be a lot more easier to listen to others.
Now that you know how to actually listen, the final question is what difference will your listening make in the world? Honestly, it is going to make a tremendous impact. Almost everyone is caught in the hurly-burly of today’s life. The mood swings, difference of opinion has resulted in multitudinous conflicts. The biggest opportunity we have in our hands is to prevent these conflicts even before they start. This almost always starts with one simple step. Listening. Can we dream of a Listening Revolution that can turn this Age of Communication into an Age of Listening. Consequently, an Age of True Communication.
The Listening Dexterity
Imagine for a moment, a world where every child learn to listen at an early age. What if we taught (true) listening in schools, as a core skill like reading? After all, listening is how to read people. Imagine a world where parents learn to listen to teenagers or vice-versa. What better way is there for us to teach children to listen to us than for us to listen to them? What better way for us to show our children that they truly matter and to show our love? Also, there is an extra bonus. Maybe we would see happier marriages, and fewer divorces as couples learn to listen to each other. What if we choose leaders on their ability to listen, not just talk? What if listening became a norm in our organisations and not just the exception? If radio and TVs has not just talk shows, but listen shows?
With the art of listening alongside, it is firmly believed that we would get to “yes” a lot more often. We might not eliminate all conflict, but we would substantially avert a lot of fights and wars. Moreover, everybody would be much better off. While it may seem like some half-baked crap that is being preached, and as audacious as it sounds, it is not that complicated. Listening can be a chain reaction in which each person is genuinely listened to feels naturally inspired to listen to the the next. Listening can be contagious. Here, it is an invitation for you to start this chain reaction, today, right now! In your very next conversation with a colleague, client, partner, or child, friend, or a stranger, give them your full undivided attention. It is time to listen to the human being behind the words.
Remember, one of the biggest gifts you can ever give to anyone is the gift of being heard. With the exceptional art of listening, we can mystically transform our families, and our world for the better, ear by ear.