Listen up!

There’s a famous riddle that asks, “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?” Probably not because it takes an ear to hear the sound otherwise it loses its purpose.

Listening is imperative to having a fruitful conversation but most of the time it’s overlooked and talking is given more importance. With the advent of social media, there’s so much chatting going on. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, the list is endless. But really, how many people are actually hearing what we’re saying?

Through the simple power of listening, you can avoid conflicts and arguments, you can get your point across more peacefully and effectively. People often think that successful negotiating means talking more, however, if you study the behavior of successful negotiators, they listen more and speak far less. We are given two ears and one mouth for a reason after all.

Why it is important to listen?

It helps us understand the other’s side. Negotiating means exercising influence and trying to change someone’s mind. You can only do this when you pay attention, listen and figure out where the other person is coming from.

It helps us connect with the other human being. It shows that we care and that leads to mutual trust.

It makes it more likely that the other person will listen to us because we had the courtesy to listen to them. Everybody wants to be heard.

How do we listen?

We shouldn’t take it for granted. We need to practice it. Whenever someone is speaking to us, instead of hearing the words, we are thinking about our response to it; we are making it about ourselves. Whereas genuine listening is about the other person. We put ourselves in their shoes. We tune into their wavelength. That’s not too easy. We listen for not just being said but what’s not being said. We listen for the underlying emotions and feelings. What that person really wants.

If listening is so useful, why isn’t everyone doing it? Because it isn’t so easy. You need a lot of patience. There’s so much clutter in our minds that we don’t have the mental space to listen to the other side. We need to clear our minds. The key is to learn to listen to ourselves first. Take a few moments, be quiet and just focus on what’s going on for you.

This is just the tip pf the iceberg, we are conducting a full-fledge workshop called The Listening School. If you want to excel at negotiating and effectively communicating, you might want to attend this one.






Inspired from William Ury.