The Only Place Where You Can Read My Thoughts!
We say we listen, but do we??

We keep hearing companies repeating that one of their strengths is that they listen to their clients, but do they really hear what they are telling them? Do they care that sometimes what the client wants to buy is not exactly what they want to sell?

In all the management books I read; it is mentioned that to be a good leader you have to listen with empathy. I remember that during one of the courses that I have taken a couple of years ago, the instructor was this elderly guru who has developed many companies and helped others make it; he told us that God has given us two ears and one mouth because it is wiser to listen more than we talk; that’s called wisdom.

In sales courses I have learned that selling is not about talking and good salespeople are not those who talk a lot; great salespeople are those who listen to their clients and eventually give them what they need.

It is unfortunate that when people are listening to you, they are actually not listening to understand; they are listening to respond and that means they are thinking of their next response and not comprehending what you are saying; that’s why we get engaged in conversations that are unsatisfying and more often than not, they end with no result at all.

Have you ever thought about this? Could it be that people fail in negotiations because they fail to listen? Could it be that we keep losing clients because we don’t really listen to their needs? Are we obsessed with what we sell that we completely ignore what people are actually looking to buy?

These are all valid scenarios and maybe we are subconsciously screwing up our opportunities because we suck at this simple skill; listening. We believe that our way is ultimately the right way and no matter how others try to describe their way of thinking, they will never e able to convince us, because like us, they don’t listen.

Companies wonder why they are losing clients, managers are always shocked that they are losing employees because they think that they are the best managers and they give their employees everything they ask for, but do they really? How could that be the case if they are not even prepared to listen to their internal customers? When will they see that it is not “my way or the high way” any more; talents are very hard to find and it is even harder to retain them especially with the severe brain drain that our country is suffering from.

Why don’t we at least try to understand the other point of view? Why should there be a dominant opinion over others? Who said everyone must see the world from the same angle? When will we start listening to what others are trying to say?

If we think deeper, we will find that when spouses have problems, it is because they don’t listen to each other, and it is like a conflict where there should be a winner and a loser; if you ever read John Gray’s “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” you would understand what I a talking about here. Same applies between parents and children, professors (teachers) and students, managers and employees, leaders and followers, even between friends. The everlasting struggles that keep us thinking without any result, it causes fights and hot debates, when will people understand that it does not necessarily mean that I am against you if I don’t agree with what you believe in? could this happen one day???

On July, 24, 2006 12:34 AM , Danah
from Jordan said:

Khalidah ..
You are absolutely right .. all our problems circle around that , we simply do not listen to others .. and if we managed to listen one time .. we might be very self-absorbed that we always interpret the other side's words according to our own "definition" which again .. creates more misunderstandings and confusion .. but again , some of us are not much of a talker/speaker … some people do not know the first thing on how to make their voice heard or their idea acknowledged , they simply want to force what they think is valid and true ... we have a weakness in both areas ..

On July, 24, 2006 9:31 AM , 7ala said:

yonsor deenek ya khalidah , had el7aky wella balash :-)

7abbaitek wallah.

I know exactly what you are talking about .
I face this when I work with the clients , its really important to listen; listen to understand not to respond.

And i read this book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" and it says the same thing about the relationship between the spouses. most of the problems are becoz they dont listen to each other.

Yes I believe that listening always makes difference while talking doesnt have always the same effect.
Listening to other people makes you able to get them well and makes you a wiser person.

I really liked this one Khalidah, you are always shining with your words :)

On July, 24, 2006 10:04 AM , salam
from Jordan said:

Some times a good listening ear is all you need to feel better about the world!nice post Khalidah!

On July, 24, 2006 3:25 PM , thecaller
from Egypt said:

asalam 3alaykom,
great topic khalidah..really.
I don't know why,but i had one thought when i read this..
when a girl likes a boy and she wants to talk to him and may spend time with him and he'd interpret that as ..i'm o.k with everything so he stops hearing the NO..NO..NO..
and listen to an illusional YES..
it's how shut down someone can be ..just hearing the voices in his head..and never listens to anybody else's pleas..
+ as for me..sometimes i say and say and no one listens so i drive their own way 3ashan akhlas..w toz fea!! mesh moshkela..
but everything has a limited red line..and that's when things starts to get scary.
i hope i didn't go off track..but this is really what came to mind..
thank you for sharing your humanity.

On July, 24, 2006 4:44 PM , Khalidah
from Jordan said:

Danah, exactly my point .. it is really crazy and people just don't get it .. they don't listen because they lack the skill and sometimes they are just not interested ... ironic!

7ala, ma ana fa23a min jnabi w 3ashan hek katabt ...
People don't listen .. sometimes we don't listen ourselves but how do you listen to someone who does not listen to you? how do you communicate? I am tired of people who only hear themselves speak .. it is so exhausting

Salam, you are absolutely right :)

the caller, habibty inti .. toz fehom kolhom w inti la .. LOL
The scenario you mentioned is a very valid one and applies to the same rule .. they don't listen or in other words, they hear what they want and ditch everything else .. this is really bad .. when will people start listening with empathy? how do they know how to solve issues if they don't understand them in the first place? I wonder