Understanding how to listen (II)

Last time we began discussing about understanding how to listen. Listening is one of the indispensable skills we must acquire, master and effectively utilize if he is going to make a success of our lives. Listening is a sine qua non to any relationship.

“Listening is a form of a communication technique that lets you understand, interpret and put meaning to what you hear. Listening can build a better relationship with others, while hearing is just merely receiving sounds through your ears.” Difference between.net

Listening is giving thoughtful attention to what you hear.

“The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.” Alfred Brendel

“Listening is about being present, not just about being quiet.” Krista Tippett

“You can’t fake listening. It shows.” ― Raquel Welch

Listening is grasping the meaning of what is being said. It is not just paying attention to what is being said but also to how the things are being said. It involves giving full attention to the speaker.

“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” Roy T. Bennett

Listening is very important.

“There is no doubt that effective listening is an extremely important life skill. Why is listening so important? Listening serves a number of possible purposes, and the purpose of listening will depend on the situation and the nature of the communication. To specifically focus on the messages being communicated, avoiding distractions and preconceptions. To gain a full and accurate understanding into the speakers point of view and ideas. To critically assess what is being said. To observe the non verbal signals accompanying what is being said to enhance understanding.

To show interest, concern and concentration.

To encourage the speaker to communicate fully, openly and honestly.

To develop an selflessness approach, putting the speaker first.

To arrive at a shared and agreed understanding and acceptance of both sides views.

Often our main concern while listening is to formulate ways to respond. This is not a function of listening. We should try to focus fully on what is being said and how it’s being said in order to more fully understand the speaker.” Skillsyouneed.com









We have been discussing the topic of listening. Listening is different from hearing. Hearing is the physical ability to perceive sound with your ears. If you are not hearing impaired hearing is an automatic involuntary action.

Listening however is paying attention to the words and sounds you receive by hearing and then understanding, decoding and interpreting and responding to it correctly and appropriately.

Listeig is a skill we must acquire and master.

How to master the art of listening:

1)      Attention:

* Always give the speaker your full undivided attention by directing your mind to what is being said.

* Avoid distractions – concentrate and focus on the speaker and what is being said. Keep your mind on the speaker and the subject of discussion.

2)      Attitude:

* Patience to hear the person out, don’t jump to conclusions.

* Willingness to properly understand what is being said (avoid biases, prejudices, stereotyping, etc).

* Encourage speaker to speak by showing you are listening.

* Be motivated to listen so your response can be accurate. Do this by understanding the benefits of listening among which are:

  1. a) Ability to make informed decisions and right judgment.

“Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.” Proverbs 18:13 Message.

“He who answers a matter before he hears the facts–it is folly and shame to him.” Proverbs 18:13 Amplified.

  1. a)   Getting new insight.

“Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.” Proverbs 18:15 Message.

  1. c) Getting good advice. “Listen to good advice if you want to live well, an honored guest among wise men and women.” Proverbs 15:31 Message.

3)      Assessment:

The whole idea of listening is for you to respond accurately and effectively and this will only happen if you assess what you hear properly.

Assessment involves evaluation, understanding and making the right decision, choices and judgment.

Listening is a skill we must develop. It’s a deliberate act and art .

“How do you listen? Do you listen with your projections, through your projection, through your ambitions, desires, fears, anxieties, through hearing only what you want to hear, only what will be satisfactory, what will gratify, what will give comfort, what will for the moment alleviate your suffering? If you listen through the screen of your desires, then you obviously listen to your own voice; you are listening to your own desires. And is there any other form of listening? Is it not important to find out how to listen not only to what is being said but to everything – to the noise in the streets, to the chatter of birds, to the noise of the tramcar, to the restless sea, to the voice of your husband, to your wife, to your friends, to the cry of a baby? Listening has importance only when on is not projecting one’s own desires through which one listens. Can one put aside all these screens through which we listen, and really listen?” Jiddu Krishnamurti




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