The Art of Listening

I am quite sure many of you would be aware of this and the rest would be equally blank on this topic. Many times in life the cause of an argument is inability to listen properly. To deal with those issues there have been a ton of remedies and discussions at various places including online. In very recent times, its famously called as 'The Art of Listening'. There would be a ton of videos and articles if you just google and try knowing about what's the topic about. But, I can assure that any of those tips don't help unless you really understand what this term implies and what's it's actual meaning.

We have a very famous proverb which states,
We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.
Now, if you think on it, symbolically it states that always listen more than you speak. There's a very strong and fair reason for it. We may not always have the full knowledge of what's happening around or what someone in particular is talking about, but the words they use, their tone, the way they express it tells a lot more information about the topic which they were actually talking about.

It all ends and relates with your ability to understand the body language, situation and emotion of a person when they are speaking about something. It can appear like a complaint but possibly can be a rant. It might look like hatred but can just be actual experience. So, based on just one factor you can't possibly know what's the matter and then choose your action of response.

There's a gargantuan difference in listening and hearing. Hearing is something everyone of us does 24/7 non stop even while we are sleeping. But listening is something when we pay attention to something and try to analyse it relating it with the contextual information we have and then try to come up with an appropriate response.

Now, many would say, most confusions happen online where you can't actually read and analyse anyone's facial expressions or emotions. For that, you need to understand how a person reacts and uses their words as well as the emoticons/GIFs. These are the ways we have substituted our contextual body language for the screens.

The tone which is used also matters a lot in both art of speaking and art of listening. If the listener has a weak knowledge they can miss the possible message as both the speaker and listener don't reach the same point resulting in a conundrum. The judgement of a tone can be resulted by reading the same sentences in different ways on text. It doesn't mean you'd do the same at every single step but whenever you feel agitated or excited about something, just try this out.

For our sake, we will take the speaker as an ideal person who expresses everything as they want to and intended to. To be a good listener you need to understand if a person needs just someone to listen, someone who'd relate to them, someone who'd give solution, empathy, any kind of support. There may be times when you might not be totally accurate but you can always accept your mistakes and improvise on that.

If you master the art of listening, you can avoid a ton of issues before they even began to arise and solve them using a pre-emptive strike. Not everyone can be a master of listening but at the least we can hope to learn a few tit bits and avoid landing into arguments. Here below are some tips which will help you to master the art of listening.

  1. Always let the speaker finish first. ( Don't be a dum dum and ask if they're finished. Look for gestures)
  2. Don't be in a rush to reply or give out any reaction.
  3. Think on what they had just spoken about and try to analyse it based on the contextual information you have present around you.
  4. Give a verbal reply only when needed. There are several ways to show that you are an active listener and understand what the speaker has to say. Use of gestures is one such smart move.
  5. Coin your reply in a way which makes your point of understanding the matter clear. ( Keep it short for most and for this you certainly need to be a good speaker, but doesn't matter everytime.)
  6. Don't reply just for the sake of replying, there are many situations where the silence is the best reply you can give.
  7. You can always clarify if there's some misunderstanding and let it be over before any argument begins in the first place
  8. There not always be a situation where you'd be able to use all or even some of the steps mentioned above. During such times, just trust your instincts and just don't react with any extremities.
  9. There will be times when you need to tell the speaker that you have to leave or you are just unable to listen to them anymore. During such instances just let them finish a sentence and then either gesture that you need to leave or you don't wanna talk on the same topic anymore. Be polite as possible but interrupt only when it's needed.
  10. There will be times when you don't know the things you were supposed to know and you need to reply based on that information such as if your boss asked you about some analysis that you were supposed to perform but you haven't done it yet. Depending upon the circumstance, you can either take a polite exit, mention that you don't know it yet or just note it down later so that when you get free time you can search it up and know what the thing was actually about.
There are many points and situations but you can't possibly note and learn every single one of them. This is something which you'd just learn with experience as the time passes. No one becomes a master of everything over night. So, don't feel bad if someone calls you a bad listener. At times we aren't just in a mood to listen to the thing person has to say or we lack interest in the same topic. I hope this helps to many who have a trouble with interacting in public or private.


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