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Listening – a forgotten art.

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So I’m going to learn and I must do it by listening.” – Larry King 

If you were able to repeat what was said, if you were able to answer what was asked, if you were able to participate, if you were able to respond, if you were able to judge YOU WERE NOT LISTENING. 

For many of us, communication is talking – and talk we do. To ensure we do it well, we interrupt, advise, repeat, judge, criticize, argue, divert, diagnose, etc. If not these then we are often busy planning out what we will say next. We are always in a rush to pour out our heart and mind that we often ignore others. Sometimes we do listen but only to be able to give a response. We ignore the heart of listening; ‘understanding’.  And the reaction of this action is drastic; misunderstandings and distance in relationships comes hand in hand. We not only disrespect the other but also make them feel unimportant by leaving them unheard. Moreover we end up learning nothing new, thus find no solutions to our problems. 

Such practices have cultivated the seed of loneliness in our lives today. We often feel that we have no one to talk to even while sitting in a crowded room. Why? Because we know no one will listen. Few may appear to be listening though but their actions and reactions prove that they were just looking at you with glazed eyes of a goldfish only to satisfy their social obligation. This doesn’t end there; it also sits in the roots of depression. According to World Health Organization’s report in 2018, 300 million people around the world had depression. 

We all have forgotten that good communication requires good listening as well as talking is an indisputable fact. In fact, The Greek philosopher Diogenes rightly said, “Since we have two ears and only one mouth”, listening just might be more important skill. “Listening’ can rightly be termed as foundation of good communication.  

Communication is like throwing and catching a ball.
One has to be attentive to catch the verbal and non-verbal shots in the same way we need to be alert to receive a pass on a football pitch.
It is not possible without focus, spirit and skill.  

But why should we care. What is the need of improving our listening skills?

Well, honestly the benefits of improving these skills may not be easy to quantify, but undoubtedly listening better will improve every area of your life. 

Bernard Baruch has also said, “Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” 

The importance of listening can be gazed from this current scenario where many top employers have enlisted the listening skills training along with other technical skills for their employees. This isn’t surprising when you know that listening stimulates talking. Thus listening will increase the sharing of information which in turn will boost creativity and innovation. 

To move ahead on the wisest paths one often requires spirited and respectful debates. If we want to learn, it can be done best in two ways: by experience or by listening. Thus we must ensure that everyone around us has a chance to talk and especially that they are listened to. This way we can make them feel valued and respected. It is often the key needed to help someone. Listening is giving of oneself to involve in the life of another. This simple yet genius technique will help you to be more powerful, charismatic and persuasive in all the fields of your life. 

Keep in mind what Jimi Hendrix has to say, “Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens.”


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