Thursday, March 20, 2008

23. Are you a good listener ?

In inter-personal relations, the art of listening is much more important than the art of speaking. Many of us know how to speak, but how to listen is a skill difficult to find.Most of the time, we are so eager to talk about ourselves that we simply don't bother to listen to the other person. We presume that only we have something worth speaking and the other person will immensely benefit from what we have to say. If we are facing some problem, we are in a hurry to unburden ourselves, unmindful of the possibility that the other person may be facing a bigger problem.If the other person somehow gets a chance to speak, we don't mind stopping him half way through a sentence, once some thought comes rushing to us. This is worse than when we don't allow the other person to speak at all. Not letting someone finish is a clear indication that we are not interested in and do not care for what he has to say. We are engrossed in our own thoughts and let the other person speak simply because we need time to think of what to say next. If we really want to hurt, annoy, irritate and humiliate someone, there are few ways better than cutting him short.Some of us listen to others, but the listening is mechanical. There is no desire to empathise or understand. While we are physically at one place, our mind is somewhere else. It is easy for the other person to judge from our expressions that we are not fully into the process of conversation. We are listening either because we are civilized or because we are less smart than the person who is speaking. When he suddenly asks something, we get exposed and have to face embarrassment.If you really want to win over the other person, you must not only have the patience to listen to him, but also the desire to understand what he has to say. Encourage him to talk and ask him questions that he wants to answer. As regards your own necessity to express yourself, you can always go and speak to the wall.

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