Many people don’t listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intent to reply.

Sohini was an entrepreneur. After college, she started a small venture which slowly grew to be a big company. With a middle-class upbringing, she had strong values. Sohini was preferred by her customers as she was honest and straightforward. She became a hugely successful businesswoman at a very young age. Many people asked for business advices from her and she gladly would give people authentic tips from her own experience!

Ankita was Sohini’s neighbour. She was going to start a beauty salon. So, she requested Sohini to give some suggestions so that she could get more customers. Sohini started to give a few tips. But Ankita was not listening. She interrupted Sohini and expressed her doubts on why she thought those suggestions wouldn’t work! Sohini tried to explain but finally she gave up! She understood that although it was Ankita who came to her for the suggestions, she wasn’t willing to pay attention to what Sohini had to say! Ankita although was a novice had more to say about business than to listen from a pro like Sohini!

Another day Sohini was at home, her cousin Umesh came for a visit. Umesh was a college student and he was discussing about an entrepreneurial venture he was considering to start after college. He then asked Sohini for her opinion. Sohini then gave her honest feedback but Umesh continued with his own views and he didn’t comprehend what Sohini was saying. Finally she became silent and let Umesh do all the talks!

One day Sohini was at her office when an employee named Nikita came to her with an issue. Nikita was the senior Marketing Manager in the company. She was not able to close a deal with a client. This deal would be profitable for the company as the client was a top businessman! So Nikita came to Sohini for a discussion to get this client. Sohini listened to the entire matter and at once pointed out that the approach to communicate with the client was wrong! She suggested Nikita to take a different approach. But Nikita argued that the client was a critical one and he had to be tackled just as she was doing. Sohini then enquired why couldn’t she finalise the deal with the client!

Nikita was complaining about different company policies and the difficulty of her situation. Sohini was upset that Nikita wasn’t even trying to understand what she was explaining! So she allowed Nikita to proceed in her own way. After a week she came to her crestfallen. The client had rejected the offer. Sohini then said to her that this is what she was afraid of and that is the reason why she mentioned a different strategy. At this Nikita was surprised and asked Sohini when had she mentioned this!

She reminded Nikita that she had urged to change her strategy in their last discussion only! But Nikita was busy to say her own views rather than listening carefully to what her boss was saying! Because of Nikita the company had lost a valuable customer.

After a few months, Sohini met Ankita. She was shocked to hear that Ankita had closed her salon. Ankita went on about the issues which forced her to shut down the business. Sohini was just listening this time without any comment. Sohini had earlier suggested all of these issues and how to prevent those!

Unfortunately, Ankita didn’t listen to what Sohini said the other day. Sohini realised that in conversations most people are so busy to state their own opinions that they fail to understand what the other is saying!

Moral: Many people don’t listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intent to reply.

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