INTERESTING research on speech perception (how we hear what a person says) suggest that how we perceive sounds affects how we produce speech. Basically, what we 'think' we hear greatly influences the way we pronounce words (I won't bore you with the details of the various research articles but if you wanna be a nerd then google away :)).
This got me thinking about how people can so easily perceive something without listening carefully to all the facts to make up their mind about something. I guess they easily judge by what they think they hear or see and by creating their own idea about something, they react in a certain way. When you get down to it, it's a question about whether you listen carefully to all the information before you make your judgement. After all, we all know that judging comes easily but is not always accurate.

Why am I thinking about this topic? Not because I'm a nerd who always thinks about Audiological research (it's not my area of profession btw), but because of something which happened today that stirred my heart to write this so I could reflect and learn something from it. Today I met someone in a leadership role who is greatly involved in the community to get some advice. After saying maybe three sentences, I was a little bewildered when they began talking nonstop for about fifteen minutes, in which I felt as if they had already made their mind up about what I was going to discuss. Not only did they assume what I was going to say, they had assumed a lot of things about me. A little shocked and a disappointed that someone who I came to advice and respected responded with a lecture rather than a conversation, I couldn't help but wonder, do I ever do that? Am I a good listener who tries to listen to someone? I couldn't give a clear yes to myself. I guess I do it unconsciously too, especially with people who are closest to me because I think I know them well enough to assume what they are going to say.

As for the person I met today, they didn't know me well and the essence of what they said was great advice but advice that wasn't helpful since it didn't relate to what I wanted to discuss. I guess since this person has seen many people and has had many experiences through their leadership role, they were relying on their experiences to make up their mind about what the agenda was before I got a chance to explain. I just hope today's meeting spurs them to reflect on how they communicate with others because it would be sad for a wise and talented leader (who are rare) to cease listening to the people they lead and represent, as it would not only reflect badly on their personal character but on the organisation they represent; an organisation which is doing great things for the community.

Sometimes we are so sure of things that we don't try to listen and we miss out on so much. We don't allow ourselves to perceive the truth of the matter and easily judge. I hope I never rely on my experiences that I overlook listening genuinely and fastforward to ill-informed judgements.

Let's open our ears.

More importantly, let's open our hearts.


No comments:

Post a Comment