‘People never listen, they’re just waiting for their opportunity to speak’ – Unknown.
I’ve always loved this quote. To me it epitomises people in our society.
Of course not everyone is like this, however I do feel that if more people made a conscious effort to truly listen to what other people say, we wouldn’t have nearly as many arguments or misunderstandings as we do.
I remember having a very heated discussion with a previous employer about their conduct as well as mine. It was brilliant because I was not expecting to learn anything from the altercation, I simply wanted
to make it clear to them why they were in the wrong, and why this behaviour couldn’t continue.
To some degree, I believe that person did listen to me and take my points into consideration, however they did of course have some things to say to me that I needed to improve or just simply change altogether.
In the midst of the meeting they said to me ‘Listening skills are very important, you need to learn how to listen properly’. Now most people might take this offensively, and truthfully at the time, I was angry about the whole situation anyway, so I did take it as an insult.
However, when I had calmed down a little and had some time to think about it, I realised what they were trying to say. In the immediate sense, they were telling me that I was not doing what they required of me, not listening to what they had to say, and this had therefore lead to mistakes on my part, however what they really wanted to get across to me was this idea that listening skills are invaluable in life.
If you can set aside your ego, set aside your emotions and even set aside your opinions and beliefs about everything, even for just a single moment, you will be able to listen. Listening is a skill that requires you to be fully engaged with the person you are listening to. Clear your thoughts of judgement, or your opinion that your basing on what they are saying.
Just focus on what they are saying, the way they are voicing it to you and just relax. Let it all sink in, imagine as though you have an empty box in front of you, one that you intend to fill. You can only fill it once you know what to fill it with. So in this sense, you cannot understand what a person is saying unless you know exactly what they are saying.
So you need to properly listen.
People are too caught up in what other people think of them, or whether what they have to say is meaningful or useful. But listening to people allows you to learn, to grow and to prosper. It can help you understand someone so much more.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that for me personally, listening to people and limiting how often I speak has allowed me to learn so much more. It’s helped me and it continues to help me.
Just a thought.
– Christian Reeve