-Commander VK Jaitly
We all know that Communication takes place only if there is a speaker and also there is a listener. Further, Communication is necessarily a Two-Way process that means communication is considered complete only when the listener or the receiver acknowledges that he/she has received the message, may be with just nodding of the head.
We also know that God has given us two ears to listen and one mouth to speak. That means that in our day today conversations we should be listening more and talking less. When we listen, we learn while when we speak, we only say what we know and therefore there is no value addition to our knowledge bank. So listening is a beneficial exercise for us while speaking is an energy consuming exercise.
Yesterday, when I visited the corporate office of the same company and had a meeting for almost half an hour with their CEO, I listened to him with full concentration. I was trying to fully understand the issues their company is facing and their CEO wanted me to address those issues during the training sessions at the resort. I had reminded myself before the meeting itself and in fact constantly during the meeting too that my goal was to truly hear what the CEO was saying. In fact, I had set aside all other thoughts and was only concentrated on the message and I was also jotting some of the important points in my diary. My mobile phone was not in silent mode but switched off as it gives some sort of vibration even in silent mode and that does distract the attention. In between, I was asking some questions, reflecting on what the CEO was trying to convey, and I even paraphrased in my own words to ensure that I fully comprehended the message. This is what we call: Active Listening.
In active listening we make a conscious effort to hear not only the words but try to genuinely understand the total message from other person. That includes even looking into the eyes of the other person but not staring at all. We also watch his/her body movement. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by a cursory glance on WhatsApp message or by receiving a phone call in between. In fact, if the TV or some back ground music is on, switch it off and close the door to avoid any intrusion. We can’t afford to lose focus on what the other person is saying while engaged in active listening. And most important is that we should listen with an open mind.
You don’t have to give your verdict immediately. However, if the solution to the problem lies within your powers and you are 100% convinced about the viability of the corrective action that will solve the problem, just do it. But if you feel that the issue needs to be discussed with a few more colleagues or seniors, just tell the person that his/her problem has been fully understood and action will be taken at the earliest with full diligence.
You must have seen a video going viral on the social media of a Border Security Force (BSF) soldier Tej Bahadur Yadav complaining about the food being served. This video has created an uproar in the highest circles of military, para military forces and even at the MOD and MHA levels. This is not the case of bad food but a case of failure of communication between the soldier and his immediate superiors. Had there been a session of active listening by the senior officers of the soldier, he would have continued to be a satisfied and disciplined soldier with the assurance that his grievances will be looked into. People retaliate only when they feel that nobody is listening to them.