Random Thoughts

Strategy & Entrepreneurship

The active listening

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Active listening is more than just listening. It's when you shut up your thoughts to pay full attention to your surrounding, especially when someone is talking. Well, it's figurative, it applies when reading too.

I have life experience in non-profit organizations and volunteer groups. Their workforce structures can be similar to companies but the individual efforts disparate. The goals usually are the same: get shit done. But people are there for personal reasons and intimate motivations, even the usual philanthropists are there to fulfill some particular desire.

Everybody has opinions. Everybody is proud of its own opinion. Forming the brain synapses and synthesizing ideas is a demanding task and fills us with self-realization when we do it. And even more when we can expose these abstract concepts to other people. This is the essence of communication, right? To transfer information. The mind is an island and the communication are the connections, that's why is cool to communicate effectively, makes the existence seems less lonely.

In groups and communities, what can be observed is that many people have a huge eagerness to expose your ideas. And they all cry out for a moment of attention and for the right to be heard. But this craving can be unproductive, it can create noises. In many cases, the opinions are repetitive and often express exactly the same idea using different means.

I'm not saying your will and right to express yourself is wrong. Before you start taking a conclusion on what I am saying, allow me to comment that if you are doing this, it's just a self-defense act, it's the self-preservation of your ideas. You know why? Because it's natural for our instincts to put our opinions (and our right of free speech) as part of ourselves, as an arm or a leg. The criticism or the impediment of communication is a direct threat to our senses, to our very existence.

More than in a professional environment, the ability to active listening is of extreme value in the society. I mentioned at the beginning of this text about volunteer group and compared with companies because of peoples behavior. In volunteer groups, people are willing to help with their spare time and energy. A person who have spare time and energy and want to donate that, it's likely to be a strong person, often with a strong personality. They enter the room like fire, they want to save the world. Everything will start working well now they joined the group. Of course, that's not the rule, but it's quite common these situations to happen.

In a company, it's different in the sense that the employers are being paid to accomplish tasks. Not every employer are willing to donate more than what's agreed. But anyhow, the strong people are everywhere and it's important for the leadership to take the best advantage of these people strengths. It's of leadership responsibility to keep sanity in the workplace and meetings. The proactiveness is a strong characteristic that can both empower the group or smash individuals.

The best leaders I've met are great listeners. They pay attention to the interlocutor. They are respected because of that. The best coworkers I've met are also great listeners. They know the time to talk and the time to listen. These good listener people aren't intimidated by controversial opinions, they don't take that as a personal threat if someone disagrees with them. They are highly productive people when in a team, not just in a sense of deliverables, but in a sense of harmony. The team as a whole goes faster and farther.

So this is the thing, whatever role we occupy while being part of a community, it's important to learn how to communicate effectively in order to get better results. When someone is talking, stop thinking and replying the other person's words before they even finish what they want to say, shut up your mind, start active listening.

Thanks for reading, if you have something to say, you can comment below :)