Listening long enough

26 Sep

>One of my first blog posts was about the importance of listening with a genuine desire to understand what the other person is trying to tell you. I now had follow up conversation on this with my friend Freddie from Uganda.

The key take away is that when deciding for how long we should be listening to others before proceeding to giving our point of view there are two key questions to answer.

The first one is how much time should I take to listen to others in order to fully understand what they are saying. This is quite an obvious one. The second one is less obvious and I honestly have not thought about it before. It is how much time should I take to listen to the other person so that he/she gets an impression that I have listened long enough. Sometimes we think (correctly or not) that we got what the other person is saying but he/she might be thinking that we could not have understood it yet. Then we need to listen for a bit longer otherwise the person will think that we do not care about what he/she is saying and will disregard our comments. This is very cultural but especially in Africa it is from my experience a very useful concept to consider and apply.

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