Are you listening well?
I am not talking about your physical capabilities of listening. In this writing, I’m particularly talking about your “Listening Skills“.
We all have learned listening as a basic mannerism to respect the other individual. We follow this religiously by being “quiet” when others talk. We also make sure we do not interrupt them. That is really great!
However, does that mean we listen?
It is possible that you won’t actually listen to the other person if you are not interested in the topic or the person or if your mind is roaming around. This is perfectly ok if your sole purpose of being quiet is a basic mannerism!
Here I’m more interested in the times where you are actually paying attention to the talk and listening. Have you observed why you are listening?
There might be multiple reasons why you listen to the other person. These are the four important ones that I am going to discuss here.
- Genuinely interested in knowing more about the topic/others’ perspectives.
- Listening just so that you can counter-argue that person well.
- Listening to find out their mistakes, so that you can attack at the end.
- Listening just so that you can spill out all your opinions only if you wait.
From 1 – 4 they go in the best to worst order.
When you listen to someone next time, give this simple test to yourself.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Why are you listening?
- By being quiet when they talk, are you just showing respect, or are you actually respectful inside as well?
Understand yourself here and if you are even a bit evil inside, you will find it out by your honest answers. And you can make yourself a better being. For “Why are you listening?”, your answers can be any of the below:
Listening to understand: If you respect others’ opinions you will be listening well to understand their point of view. This means you are amazing!
Listening just to reply: If you are listening just to reply when the person ends the talk, you can definitely do better. You are just one step away from listening better.
Listening to find out mistakes: If you are doing this, ask yourself, is this the person you want to be? You can do way better.
Listening just to say everything that you know(maybe even a logic-less argument): Be careful. This might be your insecurity about lack of knowledge in the topic making you sick. If you do not know certain things, you can gracefully accept it and try to understand others’ opinions. It makes you feel good and gain some respect.
So, when you listen next time, observe yourself to understand, are you listening well. If not, start agreeing that you can learn from others, and consciously make a better change every time you listen. Start working on your listening skills, by listening to learn, understand, and respect.
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