Listening— A Powerful Tool for Success
In a world filled with noise and constant interruptions, the power of listening is often undermined and its relevance never fully understood. A doctor who listens effectively gains the trust of her/his patients. A corporation which listens effectively to its customers and employees, succeeds in forming lasting relationship with them. The bond that evolves through effective listening is often nurturing and transparent and helps in arriving at solutions that are cost effective both in terms of bottom line and productivity.
Listening thus forms the backbone of not just a successful business, but also a fulfilling inner life.
But for many people, Listening is just another form of hearing and reacting, which is why it does not produce the desired results.
-Margaret J. Wheatley
Listening is deep; it involves forming a connection between what is said and what is unsaid and interpreting the reality in tangible, concrete terms.
Listening is not a single isolated activity. It involves active observation, getting drawn into the reality of your communicating partner, empathizing with partner’s reality and finally reflecting upon it. When you listen, you are able to separate real problems from the imaginary ones. You begin to answer questions such as:
“The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.”
― Alfred Brendel
Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.
- What is the problem?
- What triggered the problem?
- What are the variables involved in the problem?
- How will you solve the problem?
When will you solve the problem? You understand. You begin to see light. Now the problem is no longer about you. It lies outside of you. You begin to see its various dimensions. It becomes a challenge which you must scale. Thus, listening becomes the beginning of something great. A Journey towards seeking fulfillment. A victory song. A success story.
“The art of effective listening is essential to clear communication, and clear communication is necessary to management success.”
– James Cash Penney
In a corporate ambiance, how do you make active listening, an essential part of your communicating process?
- Have you come across any great listeners along your life’s journey?
- How did they impact you?
- What are the barriers that you encounter everyday as you listen to your employees, clients and customers?
- How do you set about removing them?