By Beatrice Mokwunye
Imagine this scenario: You recharged your MTN line with N1000 and tried calling a friend. Within a millisecond, a beautiful female voice caught your attention: “sorry, your account balance is not sufficient to make this call, please recharge as soon as possible or dial *606# for airtime credit.” How come? You’ve never borrowed credit from MTN and your data subscription is still on, so what happened to the recharged N1000? Angry, you quickly dial the customer care line pah! Pah! Pah!—“180.” Luckily, you got across to one of the representatives and made your complaint. After all your complaining and nagging (as women you know, we nag a lot especially when it’s our right), Say said, “we sincerely apologise madam, have you tried removing the phone battery? Gosh! What has battery got to do with airtime credit?
A notable French author of maxims and memoirs, Francois de La Rochefoucauld once said something. He said, “to listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of communication.” Listening is the most significant, yet the least appreciated skill in communication. Everyone wants to speak, nobody wants to listen. But one thing is sure: You can be a great speaker, a powerful writer, or an excellence mediator, but if you’re not a good listener, you lose the meaty part of communication. But wait a minute, why is listening skill that important?
It is a sign of maturity
Maturity demands that we prepare the ground for others to express their feelings, render their opinion and share their knowledge. With that, we learn more and expand our knowledge repertoire and understanding. Active listening is a great symbol of maturity.
Listening deepens relationship
In Karl Menninger’s word, “listening is a magnetic and strange thing…the friends who listen to us are the ones we move towards. When we’re listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”When we listen to others, it gives them the courage to open up to us. The more a person is able to reveal to you, the more confidence they have in you—this is what deepens relationships.
Listening avoids conflict
I bet if you were interacting with customer care representative, there are chances you’d give her hot slap that would liberate five stars from her eyes—that’s if you’re temperamental, though. Smiles! Poor listening skill leads to conflict as nobody wants his/her statement misinterpreted by another. In fact, the easiest way to trigger the lion out of a person is to turn their statement upside down. Why do you think the ‘danfo’ drivers often fight their passengers? “I said enter with your change!” “You did not say so” and the rest.
If you can listen attentively and reproduce exactly what has been said, you’ll live in harmony with humanity. Listening prevents conflict.
Listening fosters understanding
If you can listen to me with all your heart without thinking of what to say in return, you’ll be able to put yourself in my shoe and see things from my own point of view. That is where understanding comes in. Listening discards ‘quick judgement’ and fosters understanding.
Learn to listen, it makes you matured in communication and deepens your relationship with significant others. Listening reduces conflict by fostering understanding between people. Listen more than you speak–that’s the secret of great communicators.
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