Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Art of Listening- Are you the speaker or the listener?


The Art of Listening-  Are you the speaker or the listener?


We all love to talk, dont we. Be it about the latest things we bought, the places we went, the endless matters at home, or incidents related to our workplaces. More often than not, we spend a considerable amount of time in a day sharing our feelings, thoughts and emotions with our family, friends, colleagues and loved ones. But, sometimes we even end up sharing our extremely personal thoughts and secrets with someone whom we dont even know that well. And the fact that we spend more than 8 active hours of our day at our workplaces, makes us prone and vulnerable to talk more there than at home. I am sure a lot many of you would have had this experience, telling a not so close colleague about your personal problems. Probably you were in a weak moment and needed an outlet to vent your feelings. And mostly after the conversation, you end up thinking, why did i tell him/her everything? what if it gets spread? Should i have really trusted him/her? Perhaps i can relate to it a bit, not from the speakers point of view but from the listener's, as many times someone ended up telling me about their lives and it left me to wonder, why on earth did i have to know this and now keep it to myself??!!
But, have you ever sat down and wondered, when was the last time you did not talk about yourself, rather were at the receiving end of someone talking? Perhaps we are so busy and occupied in our own lives and its day to day complexities, trying to make both ends meet that we have stopped to care and think about others. Look back and think, who would you turn to in times of distress and need. Whose name you remember when you felt low, specially in your office. Was it the one who bought you something you liked, was it the one who took you to that wonderful restaurant? Or was it that person who just sat down with you and let you talk while he/she heard you out for hours never losing interest in your conversation?  What sets apart a person like this? It is his/her ability to LISTEN. A simple but rare quality in scarcity specially in todays humans.
Believe me talking is easy. But it is extremely tough to be silent and listen while your colleague/or even a stranger talks endlessly sharing his/her life, events, problems most of which you are unaware of.  The listener may be going through tumultuous times in his/her own life, upset/worried about something yet without an iota of worry on her face he/she welcomes the speaker with all his/her heart  From personal experiences, i can say that it is really satisfying to have someone come up to you with even a small problem and watching him/her leave with a smile on their faces just because you spent your 15-20 minutes of time simply sitting with them and hearing them out. Every office is also prone to its share of miscommunications, rifts conflicts in opinions etc. Ours is no exception. The concept of counsellors or confidants is alien to most workplaces here. Hence, all we have is our colleagues-seniors and juniors to count upon. 
I do not know how many of us realise this, but after reading this just sit back and think over it for a minute. When was the last time you practiced the art of listening? When someone trusted you completely to share their problems with you without worrying about the consequences? It is for you to build that confidence and trust among your peers. It is for you to make that small effort and let someone know you are there for them. It is for you to decide, whether you are and always be a talker/speaker of you wish to and are willing to be a listener too....
try it..trust me... :)

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