The Art Of Listening

Here is a witty story on an important aspect of communicationeffective listening.

In a small town, a police officer curbed a speeding motorist. After pulling over to the side, the man began, “Officer, I can explain…” “Quiet!” replied the police officer hastily, “I’m taking you in for speeding within residential limits”. The man protested, “But officer, please listen! I…” The officer was in no mood to listen. “I asked you to keep quiet! You’re coming with me.”

A few hours later, the officer looked towards the offender and said, “You’re lucky today. The chief’s at his daughter’s wedding. So he’ll be pleasant to you when he gets back.

To this, the man replied, “Don’t count on it. I tried to tell you – I am the groom…”

This humorous story helps to drive home the importance of listening skills in effective communication. Listening to the other person while he/she speaks can avoid communication gaps and consequently, any problems that may arise out of it. If the officer would have listened to the offending motorist’s explanation before taking him in, he would have been able to avoid a lot of problems for everyone involved.

Hence it is important for us to improve our listening skills. Listening is a step above hearing. This is when you not just simply hear with your ears what the other person says; it is when you assimilate the idea or thought that is being conveyed and internalize it. With practice, you can effectively improve your listening abilities. This is a vital step towards improving your communication skills.

“It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes