One of the key things that help to sustain theories is an assumption. Assumption helps in generalizing things and it serves as a basis for making an argument. Assumption isn’t only present in theories, it is also evident in real life. We often assume the behavior of people by judging their actions, gestures or even by relating their stories to our past experience/ related experience. Assumption, I believe, is one of the main problems of the art of listening.

I remember some months ago, I had a conversation with a friend, Jehoshaphat, who’s a medical student. And he expressed his worry over the poor listening skills of some leaders. He said, oftentimes instead of some leaders taking the time to carefully listen, they easily draw a conclusion, all in the name of ‘I know what you are talking about’. And this eventually deprives them of addressing the main concern of the individual.

Well, I think this is not only a problem of leaders but of humanity. Assuming that you know, prevents you from actually knowing. If we really want to connect to the hearts of people then we must learn to give them our ears. Hearing is not enough, we need to listen and pay attention to what people say. Most times, we err in listening by processing our thoughts on what next to say instead of paying heed to what the other person is saying. There are other times we engage ourselves in a conversation with our personal agenda without paying heed to others. James 1:19, admonishes us to be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. This principle, if applied serves as a great advantage to the listener as well as those involved in the conversation. Our ability to listen seasons our words with “salt” and it helps to subdue wrath.

Leo Buscaglia, an American Author and a motivational speaker once said, Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Indeed, the art of listening has a tremendous power to turn things around. Connecting to the emotions of people helps to understand them. You can’t understand if you don’t have time to listen. Listening brings about clarification; it clears erroneous impression/perception. It gives much weight to spoken words; it enables our words to sink straight into the heart but not the head.

The art of listening averts regret; when you really understand someone, you will not intentionally hurt the person. Listening saves us from troubles, it reduces conflict and it promotes harmony. The art of listening cuts across all walks of life. For instance, in a relationship when the man, in particular, decides to cultivate the art of listening, it really serves as a booster of love and caring. Sometimes, all that the lady may need is for you to listen – give them your attention.

Listening is a great skill, it helps solve many problems, and it heals the heart. It also brings relief and refreshment to the soul. May the Almighty God help us all to be great listeners.

God loves you and always want the best for you.