There was this conversation I was having with a few of my friends the other day. We spoke about a whole host of topics – we veered into issues that had an impact on us over the past few months. And then, there was silence, the eerie one, which really did not make any sense, but this silence also had messages and it was then we realized, how important the art of listening is even when we are involved in an intense discussion.
It might sound slightly left-field, but then, we realized listening is an art which has slowly frittered away in our daily chores. I picked up my phone, called one of my mentors, a person who has always been my guide in my professional journey and told him about this realization.
What he said synced in perfectly with what we realized and with what had been nagging me.
“Quite often we think listening may not be the most exciting part of any conversation, but let it be known that it is necessary to have a meaningful exchange with another person or even when you are sitting down with a group of people,” he said.
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“We all want to be understood, we all want to be a part of the group and this is where listening becomes important. It is all part of the process - when you listen in a way that makes the other person feel heard and valued, they will share information with you. And this is when even you will take a more active part in it and put your points across,” he further added.
I then read a very interesting article on the different postures which are a great way to convey what you are thinking.
During a conversation always lean forward and appear to be more relaxed and show you are paying attention. Maintain eye contact, look at the speaker, but never stare them in the eye and keep blinking to keep the messages flowing.
And then there is the importance of gestures which have always been one of the most important ways to communicate. Keep listening and keep encouraging them to keep talking and keep the dialogues flowing.
“Always be humble, you have to focus on understanding the other person rather than on saying and blurting out things that keep flooding your mind. Remember, your aim should be to understand the speaker. Once you have understood the points, either elucidate and put forth a counter-argument, but always be nuanced and this is why, listening is always important,” he said.