One of the essential things in human life is communication. In fact we can say that man has been involved in communication since the beginning of time. Although not as developed as we have today, man has always sort to communicate his ideas to his fellow man. Today, the import of communication to man can not be overemphasized. This is because human life is impossible without it. In human endeavor, we need to share and receive information. Being at the center of human life, hardly is can man survive without communicating.
Effective communication involves a lot of things. To begin with, communication involves more than one person. The process of communication involves two parties. When we communicate, there is the person that is giving the information and the other party that is receiving the information. However, communication is not complete with the person passing the information, effective communication also essentially requires the person receiving the information to fully understand the original meaning of what is being said. As simple as communication might seem, effective communication is not an easy task.
In this essay, focus will be drawn on the listen rather that the speaker in communication process. We all know that we have to communicate but the fact is that oftentimes, we do not wait to get a feedback about what we are communicating or the information we are receiving. As human beings, we have to understand that there is a difference between hearing and listening. We can hear a thing but not listen but we can not listen without hearing.
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The difference between these two concepts rests in the fact that hearing is unconscious but it takes a conscious effort to listen. Listening transcends the realm of hearing and is more complex. In the case of hearing, we do not make an effort to hear something because hearing is spontaneous. On the other hand, listening requires a special form of concentration on the part of the listener that is not required in the case of hearing. Unfortunately, most people confuse both concepts to mean the same thing, thereby using it interchangeably as a form of synonym.
More than ever, professionals need to develop their listening skills. This is because they have to understand what their client is saying so as to understand the real situation in question. Generally, professionals hold the responsibility to listen to their clients in order to know how they can be of help to them.
Such professions entail a daily interpersonal encounters and success in such profession rests on the professional’s ability to listen in order to really understand what is required in the given situation. No matter how good a professional is, without effective listening skill or ability, the professional is as good as not being a professional. Such a field that requires effective listening skills is the legal profession.
As a lawyer, one is daily involved in interpersonal encounters that require basic skill in listening. This is informed by the fact that the lawyer in the discharge of his duties can not just rely on the client for effective communication. Oftentimes, the client is disillusioned and emotional and so the lawyer has to be able to not only hear what the client is saying but to make a conscious effort in order to be able to interpret the message that is being passed across.
Due to the fact that success in the legal profession is based on the acquisition of necessary information, the legal practitioner must seek to fully understand what the client is saying, meaning or implying. When a professional listens, the person relaying the information feels respected and valued, making them feel that they have something they can contribute to the discussion. This goes a long way in boosting the client’s boldness and this allows for a better interpersonal relationship between the professional and the client.
In the general sense, interpersonal encounters require five basic learning functions. These are namely listening to comprehend, listening to support, listening to analyze, listening to appreciate and listening to discern. I will make an attempt to explain how each function aids the legal practitioner in the practice of his/her profession.
In the legal practice, the legal practitioner must learn to listen to the client in order to fully comprehend what the client is saying. This becomes important because the success of the case is based of the proper understanding of the issue at hand. The professional must be patient enough to carefully listen to the client in order to grasp what is needed to know about the case.
In addition to this, the legal practitioner must be able to listen in order to support the client in bring out information that the client might not consider relevant to the case. This becomes important because the client might be ignorant of some things in the legal profession and so the legal practitioner holds the responsibility of making sure that the client is guided in his thought so that the required information can be acquired.
Furthermore, the legal practitioner must possess the ability to listen in order to analyze the information that is provided by the client. As expected, the client might give some information that needs scrutiny and evaluation. The lawyer is put in a vantage position if he/she able to listen properly. This helps in putting the information given together and weighing it for inadequacies and contradictions.
Apart from this, the listening helps the lawyer appreciate the value of information that is given. As part of the responsibilities of the lawyer, he/she must be able to envisage the likely outcome of the case given the information provide. Listening make the legal practitioner know what they stand to encounter in the court based on the information given. Also, when a lawyer listens properly, he/she can discern between the information that is relevant and need for the success of the case. Not all what is said by the client is useful and so the legal practitioner must be able to make a decision and to distinguish between what is required for the case at hand.
In conclusion, as I have noticed, successful lawyers are those who have the unrivalled ability to listen effectively. So if you are a legal practitioner and you wish to be successful in your practice, develop your listening skills then learn to listen to your client more. This will not only put you in a vantage position, it will make you a better lawyer.
Nadig L. “Tips on Effective Listening”. Retrieved on April 24, 2008 from http://www.drnadig.com/listening.htm
University of Leeds website. “Listening and Interpersonal Skills - University of Leeds” skillscentre. Retrieved on April 24, 2008 from http://www.skillscentre.leeds.ac.uk/learnhigherleeds/pages/listening_skills/ls_home.htm
www.lifepositive.com. “THAT'S JUST WHAT I MEAN!” Retrieved on April 24, 2008 from http://www.lifepositive.com/mind/personal-growth/communicate/communication.asp
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