Listening is caring: Do you care?

Some common complaints are: my friends don't listen to me, my colleagues don't listen to me, my husband doesn't listen to me, and even my parents don't listen to me.

Nowadays a key problem in relationships is the failure to get listened to. Are we speaking when we should be listening? How many of us really understand if we have this problem?

It's like Molla Nasreddin who went to the doctor seeking help for his wife who was not hearing him well lately, fearing if she was going deaf or just plain ignoring him.

The doctor asked him to do a test, a test that involved speaking to her from various distances to check her hearing abilities. So, when Nasreddin went back home that night, he found his wife working in the kitchen with her back to him.

He went about asking her what was for dinner several times, shortening the distance each time, but there was no reply. Finally, when he was only inches behind her, she whirled around and screamed, "I have told you four times, chicken!"

This time he seemed to have heard her loud and clear. Now you know who has the listening problem!

Some while ago I got a call late at night from a respected minister's personal secretary, checking if I could meet him right then at his residence.

I had been trying for this meeting for quite some time and, hence, despite the short notice, within a short time, I had reached his beautiful home little knowing that I would spend more than two hours there listening to the honourable minister as he shared various colourful experiences of his life.

I sat patiently, looking for the apt moment to take a maximum of five minutes to voice my problem. A little desperate after midnight, I intercepted the monologue and started to talk only to have him declare flatly, "Mahtab, let's discuss office stuff in the office." And the meeting ended there.

I have observed similar behaviour with many business leaders who are successful and yet remain at risk of falling prey to the yes-men group who would never give them feedback on the importance of listening. A wise person listens and tries to get the best out of you by asking questions, enriching his or her knowledge in the process.

Listening is truly an art. Caring enough to listen deeply is a gift. Effective listening is important because it leads to improved communication, prevents conflicts and misunderstandings, and thereby leads to healthier personal relationships as well as more productive professional ones.

Effective listening is an act of showing care and respect to the speaker, and hence when you stop listening, you stop caring.

According to the International Listening Association, only 25 per cent of people are effective listeners. In a study by the American Management Association, it was found that employees who are poor listeners waste an average of 2.1 hours per week due to misunderstandings. A survey by Forbes found poor listening is the most significant contributor to miscommunication in workplaces.

Getting the boss to listen, instead of speaking, is often considered a rare stroke of luck. The reasons for this may be many including, time constraints, overconfidence, the know-all syndrome, being too focused on their own stress, and lack of empathy.

Our biggest mistake is listening to half of what is being said, understanding its quarter and speaking double. In this digital era, patience and attention span are twining in depletion. Smartphones have often been cited as the culprit, making matters worse as they are audaciously being used in meetings, classes, and events.

Hence let's resolve to make a conscious effort to listen more and speak less, and put away our phones when others are speaking, especially if it happens to be the wife!

The author is a telecom and management expert


৬ ঘণ্টা আগে|রোগ

‘দেশে ডেঙ্গু টিকার ট্রায়াল শুরুর প্রক্রিয়া চলছে’

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