Do you recall a time at school or university when you suddenly awoke to the fact that if you listened – truly listened – to whatever knowledge the teacher or lecturer was imparting, then more than half the ‘job’ was done?
Once you have learned how to earnestly listen you reduce the effort needed to remember and understand what you were (supposed to be) learning.
Were you able to catch on to that notion? The fact that, if you really listened, there would be less reading to do and far less (later) studying needed?
By simply employing genuine listening, we gain more and easier understanding of the information imparted, no matter what subject.
Did this ever occur to you?
It did for me - and saved my skin once (so to speak!).
Or were you one of those ‘smarties’ who always listened intently to everything that was said to you? Were you a good listener and even listened and remembered everything that you heard on the radio waves or on television or in a play? And do you still listen like that? Well done!
Sadly, that’s not the half-hearted listening method that most of us employ.
It’s an obvious statement but not always heeded that hearing is not the same as listening! You can hear lots of things yet hardly really listen to what you hear.
We listen when we know we truly need to – such as when we have asked directions.
Here’s a little test: Next time you are having a conversation – in any setting – observe yourself and try to note how much concentrated listening you are doing. Are you taking in what is being said to you? Are you involved with what the person is saying? Are you engaged in the conversation – or merely hearing what is being said?
Do most of us talk more than listen when in a social or family situation?
Sure, when someone is imparting a particularly fascinating piece of ‘juicy gossip’ or relating a truly exciting piece of news, we listen - and listen with undivided attention, but…..but….
How true is this? “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” (So said Stephen R. Covey, in ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.)
How very true!
Listening is not the mere cessation of talking; it is the involvement and interest in what is being spoken – especially if the words are being spoken for your ears alone.
Listening is a courteous and respectful gift we can give to others, where we all benefit.
There seems to be an awful habit appearing lately, where people actually put up their hand in a ‘stop’ motion, indicating a pause is needed in the conversation, because their mobile phone has rung! AARRGGHH!
Even an apologetic, ‘so sorry, excuse me, but I’ll have to take this call/ check this text…’ is excruciatingly horrible!
Sorry to sound as if I’m delivering a sermon. I am as guilty as anyone of not listening intently (although never have I so rudely stopped a conversation to answer a call on my phone).
I suspect we are all in need of a lesson in listening.
You never know, you may learn something and it will benefit you and the person to whom you are listening.
It seems that the ancient Greek philosopher, Diogenes Laërtius, may have been wiser than we are today when he suggested: “We have two ears and only one tongue in order that we may hear more and speak less.”
See if you can involve your listening ears more than your speaking tongue.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.