Listen before you talk

In the present day, there is a commodity that is fast becoming rarer by the minute. Though we know this specialty is slowly dwindling down below to alarming levels, there is no way to measure what is available at any point in time. As this specialty is labeled under soft skills, it is also hard to estimate your reserves. In case you are wondering about what I am referring to, it is the listening skills.

These days, we are in a hurry to contribute, which aggravates the situation. While we are listening to a speaker, our mind is racing to formulate an appropriate response which can be said to the speaker. As a result, we miss the message and the emotions of what is being told to us. How can we actively listen if we do not hold the reins of our troubled mind? Unless we keep our mind calm and channel it to feel what is being told, there is no way we can understand the true meaning. Even without actively listening, you can still be successful with your response. But it is like reading the first and the last few pages of the book and writing a review by exercising your better judgment. You may be lucky many times, but there may be a fall eventually and a fall that will embarrass you.

If you want to know how you will fall flat on the face, I can give you an incident. Not too long ago, a few colleagues were flown in from different parts of the world for an urgent meeting with a customer. They were all staying in different hotels. During the preparatory meetings, there was a senior manager who happened to be a woman. One of the team members wanted to create a positive impression on her. When everyone was talking, he looked around for a gap where he could say something relevant or witty. He couldn't find one. After impatiently waiting for a chance, the senior manager informed about where she was staying. This turned out to be a golden opportunity for the team member looking to intervene. He was staying in the same hotel. So he blurted out. Which room are you in? Now you may have a difference of opinion on this question being appropriate or not. But the senior manager thought it was inappropriate. Please don't ask me what happened next as it is irrelevant. What is relevant for you is to listen, understand, and think before you talk.

Photo Courtesy: Chris (a.k.a. MoiVous)