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Keep Quiet! Listen!

IT'S FUNNY, the more intelligent we are, the more we talk, and that, friends, is the dumbest thing we can do! To be truly intelligent and land ourselves the plum pudding, the juicy job the best thing we can do is not to talk but to listen! Doing this is an art that most of us have forgotten and to relearn is sometimes a little difficult once we've lost the habit!

Switch On!

Hearing is one thing listening is another. Hearing is what one does to noise, listening is when we pay attention.

If it's a meeting, an interview, or just a tête-à-tête, prepare yourself by arming yourself with the facts that is going to be talked about so that responses from you, if required, will be pat and to the point.

If you do your homework, the chances are that you won't be caught off guard. At meetings you need to be alert or something that will affect you will pass you by without notice! You can't make up your mind to start listening from the word go! It comes with practice and plenty of effort!

Switch Off!

If you make a noise how can you hear let alone listen? Switch off your larynx for a while and absorb what's happening around you.

You must of course add to the conversation but make sure you don't add to the noise! If you say less than others, what you do say will be listened to with greater attention.

Parallax View

Focus is what you must have. Its like looking through the viewfinder of a camera and looking only at what you want to capture. When actively listening, you must block out everything else.

Concentrate and give the speaker the idea that you are listening intently. Just as you can make out when the people you talk to begin to lose interest, so can people who talk to you.

If you need to ask a question at this time, note it down rather than ask it straight away because the speaker may answer it in the very next sentence. People should feel that you are and have been listening. Sometimes people will say things that we would hotly challenge.

Stop! Don't do this because the ability to process the input will be blocked by your defensive posture! Listen, let them have their say, smile in an understanding manner and then reply, having considered your answer carefully, so that your answer or rebuttal has more credibility.

Vicarious Living!

Your interlocutor may be the last person you want to please, but the best way to disarm is to listen with an understanding of where he is coming from. If you can see that, you will, at least, be able to listen and process the information.

If you start thinking of your pet peeve against him you'll start tuning out and you'll miss what he may inadvertently let fall. Similarly, if you are in an interview and the interviewer is saying something, don't think of the question you just answered wrongly and concentrate on the question.

Try and put yourself in his position and see what answer you would like the most and then open your mouth and say it with verve!

Opening Your End

To listen well, you may sometimes have to ask leading questions. They should not be long-winded questions, but short ones that will force elaborate answers.

Answers that reveal the contents of the person's mind. Questions that ask why or how generally require long answers. The longer an answer the more the speaker reveals and that is what you need to leverage when it all comes tumbling out! Open-ended questions forces the respondent to talk more and reveal more than he intended to.

Newspersons do this all the time. Once a person's verbal floodgates are open, all you have to do is listen gleefully.

In an interview, often if you let the interviewer talk more by keeping absolutely silent, the answer he is seeking is often revealed in the question itself. If you look sufficiently serious and intent, the interviewer will try to elaborate and in doing so will, unknowingly let slip the answer! This has happened so often to me that I know you'll be seriously advantaged if you try it!Now, shhh! Listen to me!

ABHIMANYU ACHARYA

abhi.hyd@cnkonline.com

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