Friday, July 1, 2011

Talking to Ourselves Most of The Time

Ever notice how little people are listening to what the others are saying? It is amazing but we are all only listening to the point that what the other person says agrees with what we want to hear. If what the person says does not agree with what you want to hear, you switch off, or you distort what he or she is saying - to suit what you want to hear. And then you sit back in the little lab of your mind and make a nice presentation for yourself - discussed with X and she was amazing, he agreed on all the points I had said or whatever you wanted to make. Most times it appears we have a plan in mind to drive a conversation, discussion, event to the outcome - we already have the outcome in our mind and fit in things so as to get that outcome. That is how powerful we are.

Rarely are we listening as in completely listening without clouding all that we hear with our thoughts, knowledge, ideas, opinions, suggestions. So before that poor chap has a chance to say anything you butt in with your, 'I know', 'But its like this', and so on. When will that guy ever say what he wants to say. In some circumstances people want to show off their smartness and crack a joke and that takes the sting, seriousness out of the whole exercise, out of a well meaning idea that was just forming. The experienced communicators s do it without drawing the subject away from the central theme. The inexperienced communicators do. Most times that ends the discussion.

And in this noise, this babble, much valuable communication and information is lost. It is clear - people who are not ready for certain information cannot take it and they do not get it, even if it is peeled and put in their mouth. All they are doing is talking to themselves. There can be no meaningful outcome, no progress.

But those who know the important of listening, of feedback, of a point being made, listen and extract information as it is, without clouding it with their judgment, even if it is passing by. They are aware of that information that is valuable, that allows you to communicate, to understand the other person, his needs, his wants, his requirements, his opinions and then they react to it.

It is fascinating to see the masters at work. people who are good at anything, those who have done some focused work on any idea, are so good at separating the wheat from the chaff. They know that time is of essence, they direct the conversation to what is useful, what is important, what is honest. And if and when the cue appears they chase it with single minded focus until they get all that they want from that conversation. It is an art and something worth practising. Because if we are to live and react with this environment, we better step out of our worlds and interact with it a lot more directly, sensitively and honestly. And perhaps bravely. But most importantly honestly - because that is the one factor, possibly the only one, that makes one thing ring true and different from all else.

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