“If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.” – Mark Twain
Marley came home from school recently and firmly declared, “Dada, we are supposed to listen more than we talk. That’s why we have two ears and only one mouth.” Apparently, she picked this idea up from one of her teachers who obviously used this proposition, as a “classroom management technique.”
And since the teachers are required to wrangle with nearly 30 kids all day, who could blame them. There is certainly a strong case to be made about the importance of this particular sentiment with regard to the way we choose to communicate.
There are many forms of communication that we use daily. Verbal, which uses the spoken word to communicate one’s message. Non-verbal, for example uses body language, gestures, and facial expressions. Listening, is also one of the more important communication skills, but unfortunately it is the one that is probably practiced the least. It would seem that our society has put more emphasis on “getting our point across,” to the detriment of actively listening to what others have to say. I’ve often wondered if when we are engaged in conversations, do we really listen to what the other person is saying, or are we merely waiting for our turn to talk?
At boundless.com, they discuss the importance of listening, as well as the degrees of active listening. They make it clear that, “listening is a skill of critical significance in all aspects of our lives–from maintaining our personal relationships, to getting our jobs done, to taking notes in class, to figuring out which bus to take to the airport. Regardless of how we’re engaged with listening, it’s important to understand that listening involves more than just hearing the words that are directed at us.”
What better way to for us to fully understand one another and connect on a deeper level than to listen? Old angers and resentments will begin to vanish, and frustrations will seemingly melt away.
Written communication of course is also a major way of conveying a message or point of view that would be difficult to do with speech alone. The deeper I delve into practicing the art of writing; I’m discovering one truly important fact. As I desire to increase my skill as a writer, I’ve also begun to understand that to be a better scribe, I need to FIRST become a better listener.
The photograph above shows yours truly apparently eavesdropping on a conversation (although I would have needed The Rosetta Stone to decipher what these sculpted fellows were saying…BA-DUM TSHH). However, it’s not really eavesdropping, but a great way for a writer to create dialogue, which is an important component to our fiction writing. Not to mention a great way to get ideas for your next story.
So if we want to be successful in our creative pursuits, business endeavors, or in our various relationships, we could choose to do as Marley suggested, and in fact improve on our ability to listen.
Out of the mouths of babes oft times come true pearls of wisdom!
Source: Boundless. “The Importance of Listening.” Boundless Communications. Boundless, 13 Apr. 2016. Retrieved 13 May. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/learning-to-listen-and-helping-others-do-the-same-5/understanding-listening-29/the-importance-of-listening-132-8285/