While SPEAKING influences, LISTENING creates impact.

Mahesh Sharma

Listening is The Key

Listening is something which is taken as obvious. After all, we listen more than we talk. We listen from people. We listen from media. We listen to speeches, lectures, talk shows. We live in a world which cant help talking and we have no option but to listen.

But is it really listening? or are we waiting for our turn to speak? Or are we hearing but not listening? or we are listening because we do not have a choice but to listen.

Most of us do not take listening as a skill, as an important part of our conversation, as a pillar to quality communication. We take it for granted. It’s obvious.

If we look around, we will find we have courses, classes, and workshops to teach speaking. To enhance the skill of confident talk. To make us better communicators with the public. There are numerous public speaking courses, classes, and workshops that are going-on on a regular basis. But how many times we have heard about classes, workshops, and courses that teach how to listen? Which are dedicated to enhancing our listening skills? Which promotes and facilitates better listing.

This is because we are surrounded by the world which seems to be thriving on talking. The emphasis is there on speaking.  A good orator, a speaker, one who can mesmerize the crowd or the person on the other end by his words, who can influence the outcome, who can dominate the environment by his sheer pitch – is the person having an advantage over one who is not that apt in speaking, in putting forward his point, requires thinking and contemplation before speaking.

And that’s the reason whether in our personal or professional life  – the SPEAKING is at the forefront of Influence. The one who can speak well considered to be confident and smart.

Some can speak well, some can’t. Some try hard to speak, some have it in their genes. And compared to speaking, listening is not talked about. Its most of the time taken for granted. Its most of the time taken as a passive activity.

But is listening that obvious? is listening passive? is listening not a skill to improve?

Here are some characteristics of active listening, which may let us know how important listening is for impactful, successful, and effective communication.

Listening is not passive 

Listening is as active as speaking. Or if I say its more active most of the time than speaking, it will not be an exaggeration. Listening is actually very active and energetic.  Listening with appropriate questioning, probing, repeating, understanding is something that not only creates an environment of trust but also provides a ground for a deep relationship.

Listening is understanding

Effective listening is not listening for the sake of listening, it is for understanding. It is to find out what is not being said. It is making sure we are really getting what the other person wants to convey.

When we listen – listen carefully – listen non-judgementally – listen intently, we demonstrate our respect to the speaker. We tell him that we are trying to understand, we are with him, we are genuinely interested in whatever he is trying to tell us. And this intent of ours is being seen when we replay our understanding to him, when we put questions which help him to know about himself better, which helps him to express himself in the most beautiful and open way he can.

Listening is an art

It’s the base of understanding and speaking. It’s the foundation of connection. It’s the tiny difference between winning and losing.

Listening is an art. It can be learned. It can be improved upon. It Can be worked upon. It opens numerous doors of understanding. It provides a conducive environment for a fruitful conversation. It generates trust.

The more we practice intentful, genuine and active listening, the more we improve upon this skill.

Listening is the foundation of impactful Speaking

Yes, listening is the foundation of speaking. If we don’t listen, we can’t create an impact in our speaking. Listening gives us the clues, it provides us the base of what needs to be spoken about. It does not only makes us confident and impactful while speaking, it gives the person who is listening to our speaking a reason to listen to what we are saying.

I found out that great speakers, impactful speakers, effective speakers are excellent in active listening. They get to know much much more by listening rather than talking. They include those clues and important aspects in their speeches which they uncovered through their active listening.

Listening makes speaking more powerful, more impactful, more effective and helps the speaker to connect with the audience deeply.

My experience with listening

I found listening is the most effective and powerful way to understand others. It is very interesting, effective, and intriguing.  In my practice as a professional life coach, I make sure I practice active listening. I make sure I give my best ear to the speaker. I make sure to put my whole self while intently listening to what one has to say or trying to convey.  But I always keep in mind that my listening should not be seen as a trick. This should not be cleverly put tactics to influence. This should be genuine. This should be with intent. This should be a part of us. This should be our second nature.

Practice active listening in your personal and professional life and experience yourself the power and effect of genuine listening. Make it a part of your persona and see the impact it creates.  Imply this with intent and see the establishment of deep connections.

Happy listening!