There are two types of people in the world – you and every other person. Indeed, our lives are about how we communicate with both. How we communicate with ourselves is indicative of how we communicate with the world (every other person).
In this article, we’ll see what it takes to heal our severed conversations with ourselves and thus, with the world, by being good listeners.
Listen to yourself
Honesty is the best policy and it begins with being true to one’s self. In today’s world of multiple distractions, it’s a hard task to be able to listen to what your inner voice has to say. It gets drowned in all the chaos and stress. As a result, we never really know who we are.
The first step to listening to your own guidance is to be available. To be mentally absent is the curse of our generation. Most individuals do not live in the moment but outside of it, either hanging precariously in the past or dangling unsteadily in the future – two places where you they do not belong. However, when you are in the moment, you are listening to your own inner orchestra. Does it sound like Mozart – rhythmic and invigorating or like a blind man playing a piano? Remove all things that keep you away from you. Listen with care and patience and in all honesty start relooking at yourself, your choices, your knowledge and your emotions.
It’s like listening to your favourite teacher in school, she never taught by intimidation but gentle persuasion. They did not make us stand out of the class but took time out to speak to us. All good teachers have one thing in common – they care about the student. Your inner, wiser self is no different. It’s a teacher without form, but not without guidance. It cares for your well-being. And when you begin to care for you true well-being, you will be able to hear the right words loud and clear that’ll echo from inside.
According to Marcel Schwantes, leadership coach, “Emotionally intelligent people are great listeners, especially with those they have just met. That's because they know human nature – most people love to talk about themselves, and people with high emotional intelligence will let them. They'll make new acquaintances feel welcome and appreciated with their listening prowess, rather than impatiently jumping in with a sales pitch or elevator speech.”
Empathy is not an independent tool. It’s not a step on the ladder to success. Empathy is a way of life. It’s an outcome of true care. However, when you empathise – to give a good first impression or to make business contacts, you are fooling no one but yourself. Fake empathy can be seen from a distance. On the other hand, real empathy, the ability to listen and understand someone else, can be felt only closely. As a business man, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to meet all kinds of people. All of them like you will be wary of new people, uncertain of themselves in situations they have never been in – you’ll meet them at official gatherings, award shows, conferences and coffee shops.
Fake empathy is a professional hazard and once the agenda is done with, it’s abandoned immediately. However, real empathy is personal. It’s the fine line that divides man from becoming a machine.
With purpose (to understand them)
The general confusion among and within people is a sign that we are not listening to each other carefully and with purpose. The purpose of conversation is to establish a point and to let one stimulating thought guide the next. When you listen with purpose, you increase your chances of understanding the intention of the speaker. And confusion does not thrive where understanding has taken place.