Merge's Blog

What does good listening really mean?

Earlier this year, I was at several speaking engagements in Shanghai, China, and over lunch, a participant in one of my programs gave me a rudimentary explanation of Mandarin Chinese.  Apparently, many Mandarin characters (or words) are actually combinations of several characters that also have independent meanings.  An example in English would be the word “stopwatch”.  “Stop” is an independent word, as is “watch”, and when combined, they create a third meaning.  He went on to give me some examples in traditional Mandarin and one in particular caught my attention.  I’ve illustrated it here … it’s the word for “listen”.  It is made up of three radicals (or combinant characters) – ear, sound and heart.

And it struck me in that moment that there was no better definition than the one I was staring at!  Listening truly is using your ears and your heart to make sense of sound.  Worth keeping in mind the next time you find yourself in a conversation (or argument) with a colleague or staff member.

So what do you think?  Did this catch your attention as much as it did mine?


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