“Could you please just listen to me?”
I guess it would be safe to assume that all of us have either been told or have said this to someone on several instances. And before you think this is just one more lesson on listening, hear me out, please :)
I have been trained to listen as a coach, and I continuously attempt to work on my ability. A few weeks back while facilitating, an awareness dawned upon me. As I introduced some concepts, without delay, right away, participants were narrating their thoughts. I realized they had concluded what I had to say. They were sharing their opinion and even recounting stories. After a couple of interruptions, I requested them “Could you please hear me out first and then we could discuss” There was a huge difference in their assumptions and the point I was about to make!
As I drove back home, reflecting on the situation, I began to think. Do I hear out people?
I realized that occasionally I am guilty of showing impatience in conversations. However every now and then I am also able to demonstrate the ability to hear out a person before I say my story. I remember one trainer had once complimented me for listening well and now I understand why. The others kept intervening while he was teaching us and I patiently heard him out before asking a question. In my family when cousins meet after a bit of an interval I notice there is so much excitement that almost everyone is breaking into each other’s conversation. It is quite hilarious to watch as I can almost see homeless words, broken sentences, drifting in the air, feeling lost.
The Indian movie courtroom scenes are a great way to understand the importance of hearing out. The lawyers try to speak over each other, and the judge authoritatively repeats ‘order, order”. He does not wish to reach any conclusion until he has heard the entire proceedings. He ensures that all concerned people are given an opportunity to say what they wish to state, and are heard. But when you and I are speaking who is the “Judge”?
If we do not hear them out, are we still listening?
A) I have noticed when I am upset I am ready to hear out a person only after I have said what I have to say. I wonder if it is my ego or just pure impatience that creates this behaviour. So if I listen to them after making sure they hear me out first, does it make me a good listener?
B) Sometimes in a conversation, we tend to interrupt because we assume to know what the other person wishes to say or disagree with his view. So if I am allowing the person to speak only what I am in agreement with or what I would want to discuss, does that make me a good listener?
C) Occasionally we don’t want to hear the other side of the story, as deep down we are afraid that we may be proved wrong so we cut the conversation short. Or probably think that what they are sharing is unimportant and shift our attention to someone else. So how do we listen?
I feel an ability to hear out a person is an essential prerequisite to listening since how can we say to have listened to someone when we have not allowed them to complete what they had wanted to voice in the first place? In the context of a few drastic events or discussions maybe cutting conversations is needed, but let's admit it. Who likes to be stopped in a conversation? No one does. Patiently allowing people to say what they have to say shows respect to their outlook.
Why is it important?
Reasons could be many or one, but I feel even before listening if we are able to hear out a person it can help us build relationships, communicate better and learn something new. It can help us be less ignorant and work with facts. One of the greatest gifts we can give people is to make them feel valued. When you hear them out, you make the person feel you are worth their time, and it is like almost telling them, “You are important.” Hearing out is not about being agreeable but saying to someone silently “ I value you.”
How can I hear them out better?
While listening is a more engaging activity, hearing out is simpler. To hear out a person, just look at the conversation as information alone. Suspend your opinion or interpretation. That works amazingly well since now the emotions are no longer creating havoc. Look at it as a way of being respectful of others. Another suggestion is, in a conversation tell yourself, “Let me hear him out. I can choose to listen later or not at all”. Also when the urge to be proven right each time, the need to demonstrate “I” all the time is replaced with an allowing mindset, we are ready to hear and listen.
With this awareness, I was able to bring a small change in me and I plan to continue this transformation. The other day, in the morning, my husband was speaking of an incident in business and as usual, I had an opinion that could not wait. My immediate urge was to break into the conversation since I had panicked. But I reminded myself to hear him out. So I eased back into the chair and stayed with him as he spoke. I could feel my body relax, go quiet and listen. Towards the end what I heard was that all was well and taken care of.
How about you? Do you hear them out?
Thank you for reading
Have a lovely lively weekend!