The power and impact of listening in the digital age
published : 18 Feb 2019 at 08:07
writer: Arinya Talerngsri
The effects of digital disruption on our world today can be seen all around us. While many technological advances have made our lives more convenient, they have also taken away a lot of tasks and jobs from people.
The increasing sophistication of artificial intelligence (AI) such as machine learning and automation means that many of the tasks we do today could easily be replaced. But technology cannot yet fully replace human elements such as emotional intelligence and empathy toward others, which are still essential in many jobs.
Within the realm of emotional intelligence and empathy, one skill is often misunderstood and even overlooked, and that is listening. Here are a couple of things you need to understand about listening.
For one, listening doesn’t mean submission to whatever another person saying, or holding back information to give them the floor to speak. It means opening your mind to other people’s ideas, even if you don’t fully agree with them, and speaking only after you have understood their viewpoint sufficiently.
Another point is that listening is not the same as hearing. Sometimes, we find ourselves hearing someone out only to wait for our turn to speak. This is not listening. While hearing is a physical ability to admit all types of sounds entering our ear to our brain, listening occurs when we put meaning into the sounds our brain processes.
Listening holds a lot of power, much more than we could ever imagine. In this digital age when you can no longer rely on the same old ways, listening is becoming a more valuable way of keeping up. It is because of listening that we can do so much more than we originally might have thought we could. The following are some ways listening can create impact:
The first impact of listening is learning and understanding. People have different perspectives on various topics so listening will help you open your mind to new insights. As I mentioned earlier, listening isn’t about agreeing with everything the other person says, it’s about being open to what they have to say in an attempt to understand and learn.
The second impact is better response. When you’re able to understand the other person better, you will be able to respond better. You can also better convey your point of view to the other person. The conversation becomes a learning experience, whether you’re learning more about the person or the topic at hand.
The third impact of listening is that it advances your personal development. Whether you’re working on improving your empathy toward others or simply taking a course, listening is an obvious part of it, along with practice. Listening is the basic skill we all need in order to develop all that we know today.
The fourth impact of listening is on our relationships and interactions with people in our daily lives. Whether they are your colleagues or clients from work or your friends and family, listening is the key to better communication. How well we listen not only affects our understanding and responses to other people, but also it ultimately affects our relationships with them.
Generally, listening is part of our daily lives. But, we often underestimate its power and overestimate our ability to listen. We all can do better when it comes to listening and here are some tips to help you get started:
One first step to better listening is self-awareness. Becoming aware and listening to what you say during conversations can uncover a lot about yourself that you wouldn’t otherwise notice. Another great tip is to practise giving the speaker some space and asking relevant questions before jumping in to respond or offer solutions. This is quite difficult because we’re all used to responding immediately. This is why self-awareness is so important.
Listening is underrated in our world today, with all the distractions we face every day. But it is a powerful skill when applied properly. In a world where there is so much noise, it is important to learn to listen to understand.
In a world where digital disruption is taking away many jobs and replacing them with new ones, we must learn to listen to learn. As the Greek philosopher Diogenes once said: "We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.”
Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa