Loved breeds happiness. And when you make others happy, you are loved. There is a close bond between love and happiness. How does listening help you in being loved and being happy? This is the subject of our discussion in this essay. The feeling that you are being loved brings you satisfaction. It enhances your self esteem and results in happiness. When others care for you, you feel important and when they listen to you, you feel significant and elated which adds to your happiness. Same is true when you listen to them.
Let’s deal with the subject by considering the following 3 questions:
What is good listening?
How does it help you to being loved?
How does it help you to be happy?
Question 1. What is good listening?
i)It requires you to put your agenda aside and totally devote to understanding and assimilating what is being said. You don’t listen to give a reply, but you just listen to understand. The moment you become keen to give a reply, your mind will start analyzing the speech from your own perspective. It will hinder your ‘objective’ understanding.
ii) Your attention should be fully in the present. There should be no thoughts about the past nor should you think about future.
iii) You need also to understand the body language of the speaker. And, this would include eye contact, posture, facial expression etc.
iv) Listening needs to be non-judgmental. You must not allow your likes and dislikes or personal prejudice to affect the meaning the speakers wants to project.
v) To be listened is so important for the people that many a times they will like to be heard rather than just granted the request what they requested.
vi) Active listening calls for you to listen about 80% of the time without interruption balance 20% of the time you may ask questions. This will indeed be an attribute of good listening.
vii) You need to make it known to the speaker that you are attentively listening. Thus, your nods with your head and words like ‘Yes’hmm ‘I see, I agree go long way to make be you an adept active listener.
viii) You will indeed enjoy your choice of active listening with the results that you will derive from the activity.
Question 2. How does active listening help you to being loved?
Now we can consider how listening actively makes others happy and make you in turn happy. They not only respect you but they love you if you actively listen to what they say.
The speaker feels that he/she are important when you carefully listen to them. They are reassured that you care for them. In turn they will care for you. The speaker thinks that they have some worthy ideas that is being expressed. And if you don’t listen to them with due attention, they will feel let down. But if on the other hand you not only listen but make it known that you have listened, the speaker will feel elated and happy and so will you be. Respect is always mutual, you have to earn respect. You have to make others happy to receive positive vibes making you happy in return.
Besides, better listening rids you of any bitter discussion. You understand that these are futile. Avoiding arguing, you also avoid bitterness which often is the result of trying to win an agreement. Active listening empowers you to hold your opinion without any offence. Because of your listening skills you are in a position to offer you opinion in a relevant manner. When your conversation with everyone becomes more meaningful, both of you enjoy it. Undoubtedly it brings happiness. Exchange of ideas in such a situation brings about a lot of learning on both sides. Continuous learning raises your self –esteem which in turn makes you satisfied with yourself and be contented.
In fact, even between the spouses the problem starts with one not listening to other. One feels ignored and the problem starts. Left unattended, it grows into unmanageable differences. If we are unhappy at home or at the work, place life is messed up. Children too turn rebellious because they feel that parents don’t try to understand them. In the fast changing world today maintaining good relations is more challenging than ever. Yet good relationship is emanating from better understanding which forms the foundation of respect and love.
So if you want to be loved by others listen to them and make them feel that they are loved. If you want to gain happiness distribute the same among others who will gladly reciprocate.
Question 3. How does Good Listening help you to be Happy?
Every living being has physiological needs and safety needs. Living being must have food to live and is keen to care for life. That part is survival story. No happiness is involved. But, after survival needs are fulfilled, psychological needs come to the fore for human beings.
As social entities, humans want to have a feeling of belonging. It’s an experience that they belong to a community, a family or a group gives them a feeling of satisfaction. If they are alone and uncared their psychological craving of togetherness disturbs them.
Good listening helps you to have cordial relations with your family and friends. When you listen to them they come closer to you, they experience that you are giving them importance. By listening you reassure them of their significance. Inwardly they feel obliged to you as you are fulfilling their psychological need of heart to heart communication.
As we discussed earlier ability to express your ideas give a great satisfaction. However, you approve of your ability only if the listeners pay attention, understand and when possible and needed, take action. Likewise when you are actively listening, the speaker feels comfortable and satisfied with his skill of expression. In turn the process fosters better relation and love for each other. This is particularly important among the family members and close friends. Besides, when you speak, you say what you already know. No doubt it satisfies your need for expression, but you don’t learn anything new. But listening gives you the opportunity to learn what you don’t know. Learning gives a great satisfaction and enhances your self esteem. When your self esteem is high you wish to do greater things. Self-esteem enables you to venture on the new turf, start new project. Maslow’s theory of happiness is recognized as the last word in respect of this great wishful emotion-happiness.
“There is a clear distinction between love and respect or esteem. The ability to feel self-esteem springs from being embraced by families and communities”. Further, you become more creative which again contributes to your confidence.
Good listening also helps you to mitigate your personal ego. Because when you are full of ego, you tend to behave as if you know all and therefore you shun listening, much less active listening.
Actualization makes you really happy. And what is actualization? Maslow defines actualization as “what a man can be, he must be. This need may be referred to the desire for self-fulfillment. So discovery of self, understanding the capabilities and then doing what it takes to actualize yourself will grant the best results. But this cannot take place unless you are a good listener. Further, survey reveals that you tend to perceive situations, people and their reality more accurately if you are good listeners.
With all the advantages described above there remains no doubt that listening and its resultant process will make you one, who understands the world and the people better. This understanding will make you happier, more than your expectations.
Thanks for reading.
Let’s examine four possible combinations of speaking & listening. This will enable us to understand what communication can do to our lives and to our organizations.
Possibility 1. Effective speaking but poor listening. If this is the leader’s characteristics the results could be as under:
It will increase your focus. You may have generated good followers & good soldiers. But the potential leaders will leave. There will be practically no innovation. Stress level will increase.
Possibility 2. Effective speaking and active listening. That is the perfect combination for the leader. The focus of the leader and of the organization will remain in the forefront. Things will happen fast. Loyalty of employees will increase. Appreciation of mind and ability to enjoy the work will bring in more breakthroughs, more innovations. People will collaborate with each other and also compete with each other. The best will blossom with the leader’s effective speech and active listening. An atmosphere of sustainable leadership will prevail.
Possibility 3: Poor speaking but active listening. It will amount to lack of focus. Also, waste of time & money. There will be thrust on management by committees. People might get an impression that anything goes.
Meanwhile active listening will also result in the positives. The employees will become more self-expressed. Application of mind by them will increase. There would be greater innovation.
Possibility 4: Poor speaking and poor listening. It will be nothing but a slow death of the enterprise. The death of textile mills in Mumbai & Ahmadabad can be attributed to this syndrome. Misunderstanding and conflicts will rule. Opportunities will be missed. There would be high rate of attrition. Isolation will result in fragmentation, and finally extinction.
Just perusing the above possibilities would shake our slumber. Importance of communication will then be fully realized. So, I will deal with both aspect of communication- good speaking and good listening.
First of all it is necessary to have strong content. Content is the king. Effective communications take this into account more than any other aspect of management or even life. Content means domain knowledge. You can’t fool people with shallow thoughts. Much less you can impress them. Lot of hard work goes into acquiring knowledge. The biggest problem is seen when you have worthwhile knowledge but you can’t use into your advantage due to lack of effective speech. Your expression remains impaired. People would barely know that you are a storehouse of useful information.
Then what should you do? Become a good speaker. Practice the art and science of speaking clearly, confidently and convincingly.
How do you speak clearly? You must understand that speech in the result of decision to communicate. First thinking clarifies the idea you want to project to the listener or a group of listeners. Then brain sends a signal to the lungs and some breath is released. Breath strikes the vocal cord to produce sound. But the words are created by the speech organs. So in order to speak clearly, think clearly. Cultivate habit of deep breathing. It enables to have sufficient breath to support strength of your voice. This will also enable you to speak longer sentence without breathing in between. The flow of speech will enable ideas to flow smoothly.
Communication does not mean only effective speaking. In fact, it is the beginning point. But even more important is active listening. Active listening will bring about the results that you are looking for. You communicate with someone or a group of listeners with an objective. How can you influence others? By listening to them actively or with your speech. How do you find whether you are a good listener or not? I give below a checklist which is self- expletory.
- Don’t think of what you are going to say next when another person is speaking. Just focus on understanding and assimilating what he/she has to say.
- You must listen with an open mind. Don’t try to relate with your own experience, similar experience. When someone is relating a story in support of his argument, your tendency to evaluate should be given a pause. Never be judgmental, as they say.
- When you are listening, try to recreate mentally what the other person is saying objectively.
- Try to see things from the speaker’s point of view. Empathize and be compassionate while listening.
- Try to uncover the intent of the speaker. All speakers may not be terse. Their verbosity may require a little extra effort on your part to understand the intent. Make this extra effort.
- Think what results you can produce through listening rather than speaking. If you want to influence people, you will be amazed to observe how listening comes in handy and helpful.
- Listen a minute longer than it is comfortable. That extra minute will give you extra input. In any case, you are having a dialogue for understanding the other’s point of view.
- Last but not the least; you must remember that your words of advice will be seen as unwanted noise. Never give an advice unless asked for. If you are not convinced and the solution demands that you must express your views, do that and say we agree to disagree!
Thanks for reading.
Procrastination is the bane of life. It is a major problem. The procrastinator losses perspective. He/she tends to do unimportant tasks because either they are easy or to his/her liking. In any case this is a bad habit which must be eradicated all together.
Normally one tends to postpone difficult and time consuming projects. In case the project is likely to take a long time you need to decide that you must make a beginning. Long ago I had listen to a training tape where the trainer said that in such cases use ‘Salami Technique.’ Further he described when you look at the Salami it is very unappetizing to look at. But if you cut it into smaller slices it becomes quite palatable. Similarly if we break a daunting task in small pieces we can handle the small parts of the problem and solve it using this piecemeal approach. The best suggestion is that you focus on starting the project rather than thinking about how it is going to be finished.
Another suggestion is that you decide that you will devote only 10 minutes on the tasks which you have been postponing. Spend these 10 minutes. You may note down the steps that you are likely to follow. At the end of 10 minutes you should write it down when you’re going to spend next 10 minutes on the same job. Deciding and spending just 10 minutes will not create any kind of pressure in your mind. And that is the best way to handle the job which you have been postponing. After completing every bit of it you can pat your back with any such thing that you love to do. May be listening to your favorite music, watching a TV show, or any such thing. This will reinforce your good habit of taking on the difficult, challenging projects and delivering results with confidence.
Thanks for reading.
In today’s fast paced world, communication is extremely important. In fact, in business it is critical. However, communication is equally important at home when interacting with your own near and dear ones. It is also important during social interactions, when you meet people. There is no doubt that your speech should be very articulate. The speech will communicate the ideas that you want to convey. However it is even more important to be an active listener!
Communication is always is a two way process. Your articulate speech will go in vain if you are not listening to the person you are speaking to. You can even listen to the person with your eyes. Body language tells all. Facial expressions clearly denote whether the opposite person is listening to you or not. This means that the best vocal capabilities will not be effective until these are matched with equally attentive listening abilities.
Now let us examine how to be a good listener. Some of the qualities of a good listener are as under:
- You should listen as a friend. Often your opinion will be different from the person who is speaking. We are all individuals and therefore no two persons think alike. Listening as a friend enables reconciliation of contradicting opinions.
- Further more, it is necessary for the listener to make the speaker appreciate that you are an attentive listener. When somebody is speaking try not to fidget with anything on your table. You should not gaze at the news paper / magazine on your table. Even looking at the speaker with a lost expression, will convey an impression that you are brooding over something else and not listening to what is being said. Thus you should not only listen actively but you should also show to speaker that you’re listening actively.
- Encourage the speaker to join you in the comfort zone. When you have removed all distractions and you make the speaker aware that you are listening to them, you must encourage him to open up by your friendly nodding of the head smile wherever desirable and maintain a comfortable eye contact. While speaking on telephone you can use words and expressions like – ‘yes’,‘go ahead’, ‘hmmm’… etc. These are the voice symbols which tell the other person that you are actively listening during the phone conversation.
- Act but never react. Whenever the discussion is held around heavy states one as to be extra careful. If the speaker raises the voice it is necessary for you to maintain calm. However you must never give an impression that anybody can take you for granted. This can be achieved by not reacting to any unsavory remarks by the speaker. Instead you should use such words and expressions which will make it explicit to the intruder that you are unshakable. It is this state of calmness which will unnerve your opponent. The expression with ‘Act never react’ simply means to use your mind and reply appropriately, firmly but without raising your voice if the opponent has raised his.
- You need to comprehend whatever you have listened. It is always a good idea to summarize and repeat briefly the points you have just heard. It will help you to understand all the points clearly; and in case there is any confusion the same will be clarified there and them.
- As a good listener you have a right to ask questions to the speaker. The speaker will never object to relevant questions which are briefly asked.