Every day of our lives, we encounter and come across different categories of people with different degrees of knowledge going about their daily duties. Some of them we interact with and exchange information which brings about shared knowledge. With so many human beings on the surface of the earth, it is inevitable to meet a good number of people daily: some physically, some on the screen (TV and online) and some in the books we read. This then makes interaction with these people an every day occurrence. This, we get to interact with different people for one reason/purpose or another: business purposes, the classroom agenda, religious purposes, com,on assignment, etc. Interaction with people then becomes an important part of this life. One important thing here is that not everyone is functioning at the same level of knowledge but the fact still remains that everyone is knowledgeable enough to interact at different levels.
Now, the fact that we all have our own different degrees of knowledge implies that we all have information resident in our mind and then this makes interaction interesting as there are always information to be received, processed and interpreted. Listening then becomes one key starting point for all three activities. There are information that are resident in the minds of individuals and it is out of these information that our conversations and interactions are created. We talk, making known the idea and information within us and then listen to others talk. By doing so (listening), we receive the information that come from others into our mi d and allow them to be processed and interpreted. This is how meaningful conversations are created/made.
Listening as a skill is equally as important as talking if we want to have meaningful conversations. The non-usage of this skill is what leads to meaningless and unproductive conversations which are synonymous to noise. Earlier, I said listening gives way to reception, processing and interpretation of information but in such arguments, no part wants to allow these to happen. So, they don’t listen, rather they always want to be the talking part: they want only their own set of information to be received by the other party and the other party is do the same thing. A lot of times, the thing that settles such arguments is a common ground which is usually one of the very few statements made by either of the parties but the other fails to listen to it, he or she just goes on talking. Other times, the two parties are arguing but they are saying the same thing in different ways but they think the other person is saying something that is entirely different from what they are saying g and they continue arguing. This is because none of them is listening to the other person’s information. That’s how complicated things can get when we don’t listen.
Listening and hearing are often seen as the same but I tell you that listening is a lot deeper and stronger than hearing. You can hear a sound while not listening for that sound. Listening entail,s paying attention to a sound. A young lady in front of her laptop, seeing a movie with her earphones plugged In. Suddenly, she hears a banging sound underground and she immediately pauses the movie and removes her earphones to give attention to the sound she heard so that she can know what kind if sound it is and where it is coming from. Now, initially she was listening to something else but still she heard another sound of which she didn’t know what it was and its origin because her attention was not given to that sound initially but it was given to the sound coming from the movie she was seeing. This made her to unplug her earphones, switched her attention and listened for the sound she heard so she could know what was going on.
To the illustration about the argument, the parties could hear each other clearly but could not understand each other because something was missing. The lady seeing a movie could have been scared by the sound she heard but the moment she listens for that sound, she gets to understand what kind of sound it is and that there is no need to be scared as it is just a knock on the door or something in her room fell to the floor so hard.
As it has been said, listening entails reception, processing and interpretation of information that comes to one. Now you should be able to understand why listening will solve the issues in the illustrations above…. If you have been listening.
Although, listening is a very important tool or skill, it might not be as sole for everyone equally and we will see why that is so. Reception, processing and interpretation: the three core activities involved in listening. The first, reception is easily achieved because it is parallel to hearing. Here, the sound or information comes to one and you ether hear it or see it. The main work starts at the second phase which is processing. This is where the differences for different people are birthed and this happens because different individuals have information already resident in their minds before the reception of the new one. It is either there is a clash between the resident information and the incoming one or there is an agreement between them. This is the first line of difference amongst individuals. Like I said before, the fact that there are information already resident in individuals makes conversations and interactions interesting but it also makes it difficult at the same time. Processing of information involves reactions between information in the mind; sentences, phrases, clauses, alphabets, suggestion, idea combinations. When an information is being received, it undergoes processing which will involve all I just listed, for the sole purpose of interpreting such information but things can g et complicated if there exists another set of information in such a mind before the reception of the new one and then they both disagree. This leads to arguments in the mind which if it gets serif can lead to refusal, confusion and sometimes anger. This can then bring about physical argument or a quarrel. That is one very common complication and it leads too unproductive interactions. It also kills learning. Oh! Learning? Yes, Learning. This can happen. If You go back to the purposes for interactions I listed very early in this write up, you should be able to see that learning is a part of our everyday interactions especially when we separate some conversations and interactions for the sole purpose of learning. For example, the classroom agenda, religious purposes and the non-classroom teacher to student, mentor to mentee, leader to follower interactions and conversations which can occur via either physical interactions, on the screen and even through books.
We do this so we can learn but this desire of ours can be killed by the clash of information in our mind during the processing phase of listening. When you are being taught and there is so much argument in your mind which builds up to a higher degree, you are at a risk of starting a physical argument and also getting vexed as well as confused. This will definitely not give room for the interpretation of what has been received and is being processed. Once you can’t get to interpret the information
, you will remain at the same spot, not knowing what you should know.
There are some things that can also contribute to error in listening. These ones even have the ability to attack efficient reception. They will limit you to the act of hearing or noticing sound and all that remains reasonable is the fact that you are not deaf. Some of them are age difference, manner of dispensation, ranking, pride and ego.
We are all prone to experiencing arguments and clashes in our minds but there is one thing that some have learnt to do which has helped them effectively listen and successfully pass the processing phase to the interpretation phase.
One thing is needful!!!