13/04/2011

The Art of Listening

Dr. Raghu Raman

Why God has given two ears and a mouth. He knows we have to listen twice as hard as speaking. Listening skill is an art and it should be practiced constantly and continuously.

If you want to be successful in life first be a good listener and then be a speaker.

People need to practice and acquire skills to be good listeners. In General and corporate communication listening is an integral part of communication cycle.. Listening is an integral part of the whole communication cycle. As you move through the levels of listening, you’ll generate different responses from the speaker. To get a feel for what this might mean, imagine yourself as the speaker – how do you feel and respond when someone doesn’t pay attention to you as you speak to them? And how is that different when the listener puts their whole attention on what you are saying? We want listen to us, they will do it if we will listen to them.

There are five common levels of listening:
1. Avoidance, ignorance : No effort to listen at all.
2. Pretend listening : Giving the appearance of listening.
3. Selective listening : Hearing only what interests you.
4. Intensive listening : with projection on themselves. Paying  attention, focusing on the speaker’s words to your own needs, arguments, experiences and interests.

5. Empathic listening– through the eyes of the speaker. Listening, responding with both the heart and mind to understand the speaker’s words, intent and feelings. Listen for what is not being said.
And there is the Sixth Level of listening, and it’s to listening to your inner voice. The concept introduces a new and internal speaker. You can listen to your inner voice. To listen actively to your inner voice you should:
• Try to see and understand their point of view.
• Try to understand if there are aspects of culture.
• Listening through your body Language.
• Be patient, hear their thoughts, let them think out loud.
• Avoid responding (you are listening to understand).
• Be with an open mind to listen to what the speaker actually says; what the speaker wants to say; what the speaker feels.
• Keep an open mind and suspend your judgments.
Now after you are willing to listen, you can learn such things as:

• Don’t interrupt, stay with an open mind.
• Put your attention on the speaker.
• Make eye contact.
• Ask open questions to encourage to speaker to continue.

 There are  5 characters to represent “listen” in Chinese? Eyes, ears, heart, you and focused undivided attention.

 My focus on writing is “Listening through the body language

 
The human body can produce over 700,000 unique movements These movements have been partitioned into about 60 discrete and symbolic signals and around 60 gestures, postures, and expressions.

Most of the job interview is conveyed by non-verbal means. We do homework for the  interview, like  about the company, their vision, management style etc Briefly we  know all the correct answers , but at the end of the day what really counts is the main question: We polish our verbal skills for an interview, with non verbal communication ,ie BODY LANGUAGE .That  makes big  difference. The research has proved that the large majority of messages are received in varying levels of effectiveness. The impact you make on others depends on what you say (7%), how you say it (38%), and by your body language (55%).
We can read other thoughts like open cards. The thoughts in our minds transfer into feeling that get an emotional expression that our body pronounces in thousand of gestures, postures, and expressions.

Listening with your eyes
• “The eyes are often called, ‘the windows of the soul’ as they can send many different non-verbal signals.
• Eye contact often increases significantly when we are listening, and especially when we are paying close attention to what the other person is saying.
Body language is a visual mode of communication- you cannot learn it just from reading- you need to see it. Hence body language plays a vital role for the success of a person.

To conclude the success of an individual is  Listen, Listen, Listen. If we want walk in success path LISTEN MORE AND SPEAK LESS. Your body language (Action speaks louder than words) Listen as much as possible and cultivate the habit of listening. It is not a herculean task but  practice, practice, practice. Practice makes a man perfect.

Insha Allah: We will take oath to sharpen our  listening skills and practice more on listening..