The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said. ~Peter F. Drucker
Everyone is stressing out that listening skills are of as much importance as delivering powerful speech. I have been paying more attention and observing the speakers lately and reaping the rewards of active listening.
I do not say that its a chronic issue, but I have seen it happening in meetings a lot that people do not ‘listen’. We attend meetings, participate in discussions and pretend to listen and when get a chance; we bring up our point of view – just discarding what speaker was trying to convey. Meetings after meeting are wasted because we are not listening actively. The key is, when you are listening with your ears, start reading body language of the speaker as well. You get many hints that are never communicated verbally. This is what Peter Drucker is saying in quote above.
Listening to oneself is also important. When I meditate and try to listen what my brain (or subconscious mind) is saying, I just start remembering important tasks that need my attention right away and so many ideas race through my mind in 5 minutes or so. But I let my mind race and I observe what thoughts are coming and going. I think one day will come and I will be able to feel calmness or my racing mind will rest (I could say then that I meditated actually).
Other important thing about listening is – what you want to listen. If people have made up their mind (have a particular mind set), listening is filtered. Although speaker may have good things to communicate, a negative mindset will perceive information in totally different way. How do we make sure that when we are listening, is our mindset is not interfering with the info being received? It depends, I think. My friend jokingly said “You just can’t trust politicians; you got to have some predefined mindset that whatever is spoken is not completely true.” I do not deny the fact that we should be ‘listening ahead’ as well in order to communicate effectively. But it should not be like judging someone.
How do we feel about listening to our own criticism? Is this criticism coming from Boss, a peer or subordinate? How do we spin this criticism, calling it a 360 degree feedback, complaining, or trying to dig issues? It can be other topic for discussion.Thank You for reading.
I found one interesting article at http://divakars.wordpress.com/2007/10/23/active-listening-10-tips/
Hope it complements my post very well. Thanks a lot Divakar.