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  • Writer's pictureAdil Malia

The Virtues of Listening

Do we really have to listen to this....yet another sermon on listening ? You have a choice not to though I would personally suggest you do for it has a different take.

When you listen to someone, it is the most profound act of human respect, says William Ury. If for nothing else but only for this human value - 'respect', I would suggest that you listen for in this act of respect lies hidden the levers of relational success.

It is and I agree, very hard to shut-up and listen. Whenever we meet strangers, in a way we want to position ourselves. We have all been taught -first hard blow is half the bout ! Unless we score the first goal, we worry not being taken seriously... so we go all out, try to own the moment, set the agenda and take charge. The viral act of 'not listening' thus commences.

| Also the fact that if we have to start listening, we have to resist the urge to do what we best do - preach !! Says Amy Cuddy that the paradox of listening is that by relinquishing power - the temporary power derived from speaking, asserting, knowing, we actually become more powerful !

Let me put you on a guard. It would be a folly to believe that merely because you listen to someone, necessarily the outcome has to be in your favour. It may back fire or come-out not necessarily in your favour. But of course, if you hear me saying - if you listen then the probability of the outcome coming in your favour is rather high, then you assimilated the meaning right.

If we therefore resist this 'take charge' attitude and resist our primal tendency to preach, there are one too many virtues of Listening....and the value of these would thence start flowing to us.

Listening provides data to back your intuition.

Your gut will now be strongly backed by relevant information and evidences that will strengthen your logical stance. If you are rational, it will provide you suitable fodder to form a more accurate view of the situation. Maybe even change your earlier view which may in light of data now emerging (post listening), tell a different story.

Listening provides movements of emotional evacuation. The person talking is full and choking with emotions. He is blocked. This may be the critical trigger that blocks resolution. Your positive act of listening would provide moments of emotional evacuation . Once this is done, the other person will experience a great sense of relief. His openness to arrive at a positive/ appreciative conclusion is now very high.

Listening builds trust and establishes your credibility.

It labels you in the mind-war of the other person not as an antagonist but rather as a person who is authentically seeking resolution. They will tend to trust you more.

Listening strengthens data to back your logic.

Without listening you could be working with a lot of data that you may have researched from multiple sources. However, first-hand listening adds a rich source of verification of data to re validate the existing data which was otherwise was backed only by secondary data points from secondary sources. It therefore strengthens your logic as you acquire useful information.

Listening strengthens the USP that helps you to better sell your solutions.

If you do not listen, there will always be a lurking doubt in the minds of the others that you are partisan and have already arrived at preconceived notions and conclusions. Post listening your USP for the solution will be enhanced many folds.

Listening enhances reciprocal listening.

The other person will be pressurized and will care to listen to your logic more intently if you have given him that benefit and experience. Listening reciprocates listening.

Listening builds the enabling environment to discuss further.

If you listen intently and carefully to people, you will always hear the hollow cavities of arguments or areas which cry out to seek your support. Eagerness to reach 'feviquick' solutions are not necessary the best starting points. Therefore listening is the best option as it build a positive enabling environment for dialoguing.

Listening makes you see the others you are interacting with as individuals notadversaries.

By listening you understand their motives and compulsions. You therefore tend to see them more as human beings with a view than illogical adversaries stuck-up in their 'BS' arguments. You therefore tend to alter your own views and are willing to soften from your rigid stance. Who says you may actually not be the one who is rigid?

Ask this question....have you ever trusted a person in a transaction, who does not listen to you ? The conclusion is very simple. You knew it before you even began reading this article.

Listen. Trust is the conduit of influence and the only way for one to establish real trust is through Listening.

*Listen up if you want to be successful*

Two friends were walking down a busy street one evening when one paused and said, “Listen to those crickets chirping.”

“What crickets?” said the other man. “I don’t hear any crickets. Hey, you!” He waved down a woman passing by. “Do you hear crickets around here?”

“No,” the woman said, and went on her way.

The first man closed his eyes for a moment, then walked to a mailbox on a nearby lawn, reached down, and picked a cricket up from the grass.

“That’s amazing!” said his friend. “How did you hear that?”

“Watch,” the first man said.

He dug into his pocket for a handful of change and tossed some coins onto the sidewalk. Immediately the door of the house opened, a car stopped, and two passersby stopped to look for the coins.

The first man shrugged. “It all depends on what you’re listening for.”

We were born with two ears but only one mouth. Some people say that’s because we should spend twice as much time listening as talking. Others claim it’s because listening is twice as difficult as talking.

Whatever the reason, developing good listening skills is critical to success. There is a difference between hearing and listening. Pay attention! Your next job/account/paycheck may depend on it.

These statistics, from the International Listening Association website, really drive home the importance of listening. At the same time, they demonstrate how difficult listening can be:

1) *85 percent of our learning is derived from listening*

2) *Listeners are distracted, forgetful and preoccupied 75 percent of the time*

3) *Most listeners only recall 50 percent of what they have heard immediately after hearing someone say it*

4) *People spend 45 percent of their waking time listening*

5) *Most people only remember about 20 percent of what they hear over time*

6) *People listen at about 125 to 250 words per minute but think at about 1,000 to 3,000 words per minute*

7) *There have been at least 35 business studies indicating listening as a top skill needed for success*

Moral: * It’s amazing what you’ll hear if you just listen*

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