Instant Translate

23 May 2014

How to Listen like Avalokiteshvara

In Buddhism, there is this bodhisattva called Avalokiteshvara, or commonly called 'Guan Shi Yin" in China and South East Asia (or "Guan Yin" in short).  This bodhisattva is an enlightened being living in heaven that has delayed his own buddhahood so as to save mankind from their sufferings.  He (or she as in Guan Yin) has the ability to listen and understand the suffering of others.  Buddhists believe that if we evoke his name, he will listen and help us.  Note that his one life cycle is of a few thousand years. 

In everyday life, you as a human being are also like Avalokiteshvara if you can practise deep listening and active listening.  Just by being able to listen with calm and understanding and without any judgement, we are already easing the suffering of another person.  If you were to engage in 30 minutes of such listening, you can relieve a great deal of pain in another person.  That's what coaches and trainers like us do: we listen to the voices of our clients.  But we go one step further: we also help them to see things from another perspective, a perspective that will make them realize that their suffering is not real.

For example, my trainees feel that they are treated unfairly in the workplace. Their bosses come and go every few years.  Each new boss has a completely new way of doing things that renders all their past achievements almost useless.  So they are always very busy to meet the targets set by the bosses, who upon achieving them, got promoted and move on.  But the staff will remain in their positions and have to re-start the whole process again when a new boss arrive.  No wonder they're feeling unmotivated and not driven! 

But if you as the new boss can listen to their grievances, such negatives will recede.  There are 10 things to listen to:
  1. Listen to what is said
  2. Listen to what's not said
  3. Listen to between the lines
  4. Listen to the body language
  5. Listen to how things are said - tonality, pitch, volume, emphasis, pace, speed and tempo
  6. Listen to silence
  7. Listen to their breathing, for it indicates their state of mind
  8. Listen to feelings and emotions expressed (like laughter)
  9. Listen to context, that is, the before and after of what is said
  10. Listen to yourself: how you listen
By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers, the next course on How to Be an Effective Manager is on 22 October 2014 Wednesday 9 am to 5 pm.  Details of our other courses are at here. Related articles:

No comments :

Post a Comment