The human body has different kinds of stuff on it and they all have their purposes; the nose, eyes, hairs, legs, eyelashes, eyebrow, hands, ears etc. When I was younger, I wondered what were the functions of the eyebrow, eyelashes and eyelids, I thought they were useless. Later, I thought to myself maybe they’re mainly for beautification – I saw my mom and my aunts making up and pampering their eyelashes and eyebrow while growing up – I’ve finally found out their purposes. They’re more than just for beautification. They’re mainly used to shield our eyes from dirt and external debris. So now, I guess we all know the functions of most (if not all) of the kinds of stuff on our body. Our;
- Eyes (to see), it’s just too important cos we need it to see where we’re going to.
- Nose (to breathe), we’d die in approximately five minutes without it
- Eyelashes, lids and brow (to prevent dirt from entering the eyes)
- Mouth (to talk), don’t we all love to talk – depending on our audiences though – and also, of course, we use it to eat too.😋
- Ears (for balance and hearing), yea we all
hearlisten, or do we?
We all were taught in school how to read, write and talk. We weren’t taught how to listen. An average human (almost everyone) tend to think on what to reply while someone is talking, instead of really deeply listening to understand the person’s feelings and point, Or as Stephen Covey puts it;
Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply. They’re either speaking or preparing to speak… filtering everything through their own paradigm (point of view)
There’s a difference between hearing and listening. Hearing involves perceiving sounds through the ear, listening involves hearing a sound and understanding what you hear. Hearing is subconscious, listening is a conscious effort. Hearing does NOT require concentration while listening does.
Here’s an example of the types of responses different people would give to a particular question/report/event.
Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a great one to read for tips on improving your listening skills (and, in fact, how you build relationships in general).
Stephen’s advice stresses the importance of being nonjudgmental and not making assumptions when listening to others. He also talks about empathic listening—understanding your conversation partner fully, rather than seeing what they talk about through your own point of view (paradigm).
This overview of Stephen’s chapter on listening breaks down the five types of listening he explains:
- Ignoring – The “Bla Bla Bla, I can’t hear you” fingers in the ears school of listening
- Pretending – The “Uh-huh, Oh really? That’s nice” school of listening
- Selective Hearing – The “But I’m sure I heard you say…” school of listening
- Attentive – The “I know exactly how you feel when that happened to me…” school of listening
- Empathic – The “And how does that make you feel?” school of listening
Emphatic listening should be the one we should go for. He says;
Emphatic listening… you see the world the way the other person sees the world, you understand how they feel. It’s so powerful because it gives you accurate data to work with… It’s deeply healing because it gives a person “psychological air”. If all the air is sucked out right now, what would be your interest in this book (blog post)? You wouldn’t care about it or anything else except getting air…Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival – to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated. When you listen to another person emphatically, you give that person psychological air.
Dale Carnegie’s book “How to win friends and influence people” is also another great one to read unto becoming a good listener and a great conversationalist. Just like” The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”, this book also helps us improve our general relationship with people. Dale says this about listening;
Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves;
So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.
Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems. A person’s toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people. A boil on one’s neck interests one more than forty earthquakes in Africa. Think of that the next time you start a conversation.
He talked about how attentive Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist, was;
One of the great listeners of modern times was Sigmund Freud. A man who met Freud described his manner of listening: “It struck me so forcibly that I shall never forget him. He had qualities which I had never seen in any other man. Never had I seen such concentrated attention. There was none of that piercing ‘soul penetrating gaze’ business. His eyes were mild and genial. His voice was low and kind. His gestures were few. But the attention he gave me, his appreciation of what I said, even when I said it badly, was extraordinary. You’ve no idea what it meant to be listened to like that.”
A few years ago, someone told me I was a good listener, I didn’t observe that about myself and I don’t know why he said that but I was flattered – I guess I was more of the attentive listening type – yet I know sometimes I don’t listen to people attentively. I really need to learn how to listen to people better, not just attentively but emphatically. Let’s all aspire to become emphatic listeners.
Conclusively, the ears are for listening. Let’s all learn the art of listening.
Let’s all aspire to become emphatic listeners.
There’s a difference between hearing and listening.
Even the Bible affirms this;
James 1 Vs 19,
My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak…
Proverbs 18 Vs 2
Fools have no interest in understanding (listening); they only want to air their own opinions.
Peace out guys ✌🏽
Source; The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
How to win friends and influence People – Dale Carnegie