SHUT UP AND LISTEN!
For most of us talking is a gift of gab but listening is way too farfetched. There are myriad reasons why preferred mode of communication is talking rather than listening. Here we will delve into the reason why listening is more important than talking. Let's first understand what listening is all about. As oxford dictionary elucidates: ‘give one’s attention to sound’ is called listening.
Had listening been so simple than why would all of us attend workshops or read books on ‘The Art of Listening’ or ‘how to enhance your listening skills’ etc. The fact is 90% of people in this world are excellent talkers and only a handful of us are excellent listeners. Believe it or not it’s the 5% rare breed which actually makes it to the top! Isn’t it amazing how many of us just want to talk and care a damn about what others are saying? It’s kind of ‘I know it all’ attitude. We just seem to know everything all the time and yet don’t seem to know what the other person was trying to convey. Even if a fraction of us are listening we end up in the category of selective listeners. Where only that part we listen which makes sense to us and rest is like ‘ancient story’. Some other time maybe!
So what is the importance of listening and why is it attributed as top most success factor of extraordinary performers in life. Let’s look into some of the many reasons why success and listening are wingman for a super flight.
“If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.” Mark Twain
1. When we are talking we are just conveying our point of view. It’s like an ego 5th dimensional ride because our universe is clouded only by our thoughts. But when we are listening we know what we feel about the situation and we are also allowing others to vocalize their thoughts about the universe per se. So the end result is a rainbow of thoughts, all shining their own light and we have the leverage to open our horizons to lots of stuff which we never even thought about.
2. It’s human to be thinking that ‘I know what is right in this situation’ but honestly this could be far from the truth. Because our thinking could be conditioned by a lot of factors. It could be upbringing, the culture, education, community consciousness, peer pressure, family dogmas etc. So our thoughts are likely to mirror that. What we speak is basically verbalization of these thoughts. So might as well we listen to others. They may add more value and meaning to our side of story or even better lead us to see the same things from a different perspective.
3. The third analogy is that the speaker may have the answers to all our questions. So before we pour our wisdom it’s better to listen to their story. Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic always rates good listening skills as a powerful indicator of success at work and in life. Infact the best of leaders in the world speak little and listen more.
4. At home if we listen to our elders they have a lot of wisdom to share, yet youngsters today have a hard time listening to them. A lot of pitfalls can be averted if we listen to their precious advice. They mean good and have a decade of experience and learning to share.
5. The most important aspect of listening is that one can focus on the non verbal cues .Non verbal cues like body language. As they say ‘your body does all the talking, words are just a bonus’. Our eyes express a whole lifetime, hands reflect the sub conscious verdict, sitting posture reflects how confident we are about ourselves; so on and so forth. Every subtle movement of our body brings about an array of personality aspects. So being a listener really pays a bomb. A good listener will listen not only to what is being said, but also to what is left unsaid or only partially said. So a good listener is like a ‘lie detector’. Talk about personal or professional life, deceptions and lies are all around. An ability to know whom to trust or not to trust can be a game changer in the long run.
So the pursuit of excellence in communication boils down to listening more and talking less. As the famous saying goes...shut up and listen!
Bio: Sunanda is a psychic, tarot reader, life coach, reiki master and a published author. You can reach her at www.sunandatarot.com