We spend roughly 60 percent of our communication time listening, but we're not very good at it. We retain just 25 percent of what we hear. Not everything we hear might be important but to be able to retain just 25 percent of what we hear doesn't sound good at all. Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. Listening is key to all effective communication, that's how the internet defines listening. It's a process of extraction. There are different techniques we have developed in order to listen, one of which is pattern recognition. We recognize patterns to distinguish noise from a signal. Another technique could be differencing, which means we tend to develop differences between noise and ignore sounds that are not important.
Today, we are failing at being active listeners for many different reasons. With the advent of writing, then methods to record audio and then video, the importance of proper listening has faded. And also, the world has grown to be a too much noisy place, it's simply not possible to make out the sense of everything we hear which is becoming more and more shrill and indistinct. We just don't want to listen anymore, we have become impatient. The people who need attention are trying all sorts of methods to get our transient attention. The media uses catchy headlines, the music is becoming louder and what not. All these are making it harder for us to pay attention to the quiet, the subtle, the understated.
Losing our listening is not a trivial problem, it's too serious to be ignored. Conscious listening always creates understanding, and without conscious listening, our world becomes a place where we don't listen to each other at all which sounds very scary. So how can we improve and be good at listening?Firstly, we need to reset the mechanism we have developed for listening. For that it's impoirtant to know how the silence feels. It's important for us to get absolute silence for a while in a day. It's needed that we are able to distinguishes meaningful sounds from cacophony. We need to be more attentive to little details of sound we hear. Finally, it's about our attention. We need to learn where our attention is required and where not. While in a conversation, we know who should we bw listening to and what are the sounds that needs to be discounted.