Listening is a complex activity; at time it is difficult to process the information from the point of understanding assessing and processing information. We develop the capacity to listen mechanically, which is one of the reasons that even a very young child will react differently to the sounds of birds chirping and a barking dog. Listening is an essential part of the total communication process, although a part which we often ignore. It’s been observed that people who talk constantly are not deeply connected to others. They are least bothered what others want to say, or other’s view point. They go on speaking. Stop the conversation when it goes on too long. It’s really not damaging to tell someone who you’ve been listening for hours and you cannot take it any further. Everyone likes to speak, but, one must possess important ability to process intricate auditory signals and facial expression. One must learn to recognize different moods and responses from his/her listeners.
Through the years, numerous definitions of listening have been proposed. Perhaps the most useful one defines listening as the process of receiving, attending, and understanding auditory messages; that is, messages transmitted through the medium of sound. Often, the steps of responding and remembering are also included. The process moves through the first three steps—receiving, attending, understanding—in sequence. Responding and/or remembering may or may not follow. For example, it may be desirable for the listener to respond immediately or to remember the message in order to respond at a later time.
Listening as an activity must be taught at school level
I strongly feel that at primary school level listening as an activity must be taught. It’s such an important activity for life, which we ignore completely. Most of our life, we listen half-heartedly. Because, half of time we ignore the complete conversation for we plan to cut the speaker to give our comments. This is just plain human nature. We don’t want to appear dumb, so we try to be ready with an intelligent response the moment the people finish what they have to say. The fact is that the human brain can’t really multitask. So while our brain is thinking up an answer, we slip by what is being said.
Listening is most important element in effective working relationships among employees and between management and staff. Also, in our personal life we miss a lot and also misunderstand a lot because we don’t listen correctly. To improve listening skills, we must give the other person full attention and maintain eye contact.
Slow down your mind
The best way to listen is to slow down mind, instruct the mind to listen, clam down emotions and quiet your ego. Assume you know what the other person is about to say, even then don’t is cut the person. Though we know what the person is about say and we must have heard him say that many times before, we might have missed the subtle underlying message each time.
We come across people who talk repetitively about an issue. Some people are repetitive by nature. We miss when we mentally check out on something we think we already know. Also, we all experience this common impulse: someone tells us that he is suffered viral fever and even before he finishes there is an urge within you to tell how you had fever and how long you took medicine and how you tackled it, how weak you felt after fever etc, etc. But, the truth is that every experience is different. We cannot compare two people’s experiences. The other person wants you to hear him and understand him, care about his experience.
Most often, we interrupt others for looking smart
We interrupt to correct the speaker or to get to a key point before the speaker does. Another mistake we do is, not listening cautiously, letting your mind wander for something else which seems more important. In today’s busy world, we crave for time. We become arrogant at times when we tell somebody that we don’t have time even to listen him/her. It becomes difficult day by day to hold our attention if we don’t train our mind to do so.
The worst of a thing we do is when we get terribly defensive when somebody gives a negative feedback. When we face negative comments about ourselves, our ideas or our work, our natural response is to refute, defend, or redirect the feedback/comment in order to protect our self esteem. It becomes intolerable to handle a negative comment about self. Taking in the feedback with as much of an open mind is essential. To do this, you need to give yourself some time to think about it and assess what is true, what is false. Remember, it’s ultimately up to you whether to act on feedback or not. But it is always useful to give it serious consideration and look for ways to handle the situation tactfully. If you adept this simple fact, you will be ahead of the game.
How to tackle negative feedback?
Though listening is a basic requirement in communication, forget it if somebody is badmouthing you, remember this, you have already achieved something more than the ones who talk about you. They feel inferior; they are unable to achieve what you have achieved. They are unable to and to curb their frustration hence they talk behind your back. Many people must be admiring you and following you. This fact cannot be absorbed by petty minded people. They talk behind your back and influence the people around in some way to start disliking you. Be wise. Walk across them confidently as if they don’t exist because, a wise person doesn’t care about such people. Smile confidently when you walk past. This is something you don’t need to listen to!