I frantically tried to recall the name…was it Seena, Neena or Teena?
Not wanting to appear careless, I confidently asked my college friend (whom I’d spoken to the previous year), “How is Teena?”
Pat came the reply with an amused smile, ” I don’t know any Teena, my wife’s name is Tara”.
Now there may be some of you who identifies with the embarrassement I had experienced that day. In our desire to appear that we do remember names, you splendidly give away the fact that you don’t remember them.
Listening carefully is probably the most important skill for effective communication.
As we converse with another, keeping our complete focus on the speaker helps. A conscious refusal to be judgemental , refusal to interrupt and having a steady interest in the speaker’s words would ensure that there are limited chances of forgetting a name or the nuances of the conversation . As an action that can be defined as a process of receiving and responding to auditory stimuli, listening is sometimes reduced to a process of merely hearing.
When one merely hears, the murmer of the conversation in the background, the sound of traffic, the clink of cutlery and all other distracting noise in the background add to the sounds in the environment. Sounds that merely distract you into giving scarce attention to the conversation. The concentration that you give when you listen is missing.
Listening gets also interfered if the nagging wish to give a rehearsed reply exists. A rehearsed reply in a conversation is a sure shot way of ensuring that the essence of the message is lost on the speaker. Imagine you are leaving a dinner party and you are rehearsing your thank you to your host when you realize that she is asking you something and you experience an “oops” moment.
So what can we do make the process of listening a success?
Simple, after you receive the message or listen to the person speaking to you, pause, focus and patiently seek to understand the objective of the conversation.
A thorough evaluation of what you heard may sometimes make you aware of the lack in clarity in your understanding of what has been spoken to you. That is the time to stop and clarify what was unclear to you. Once there is complete comprehension to you, respond and you response would be one that is likely to be to the point, respectful and appropriate.
A thorough examination of your speaker’s conversation and the accompanying body language would enable you to recall the conversation better too.
And if you don’t remember a name, you needn’t feel shy, ask them.
Ask their name before you “name” them, like I faithfully do today!