During the Christmas festivities, I had the privilege to sit with a newly wedded couple. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat with my chin rested in my palm listening to the lady. She was such an interesting speaker; she could talk about anything from a to z. The husband on the other hand was absentminded. He was fidgeting and scrolling his phone up and down. ‘It seems he is always busy with his phone’ I thought.
When it was time for us to say goodbye, the lady turned to her husband and said, I think Mr. Baffoe is an interesting communicator I have ever come across. The husband giggled and said ‘You know as for me long talk I am out. That’s not my thing and you know that”. I smiled. But I was surprised I was called an “interesting communicator” since I barely talked throughout our conversation but did all the listening.
Sometimes we are not “interesting communicators” not because we are not good in talking but we are not good in listening too. Listening is part of communication and it should be looked at very well.
Hearing and Listening
There is vast difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is a process of receiving or perceiving sound whilst listening is an act that requires a conscious choice to give attention to sound. So you see, hearing is automated but listening is activated.
Before I get into how to listen well and be an interesting communicator, let me point out some habits that proves that most of us are not good listeners. Some habits like Pacing back and forth as if impatient or in a hurry to get away. No facial expression that indicates you understand or you are listening. Restating your partner’s point or trying to finish his sentences. Rephrasing what he said which puts words in his mouth. Asking a question to which he has just given an answer. Contradicting what he says before he even starts his case. Having an ear piece in the ear. Fidgeting with phones. Standing too close and sometimes the feeling we make as if one is wasting his time.
These habits abound because we do not really learn how to listen and we have neglected the aspect of listening in communication.
..…to be continued
Mr. Evans Baffoe
Editor: Ms Emmanuella Oduro Appiah