Conversation

For Entrepreneurs – The Most Important Skill in the World

Over the years, I am oft reminded that the best leaders in the world are some of the best listeners. And oft I watch this clip from Rush
Hour, when Carter (Chris Tucker) says to Lee (Jackie Chan), “do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?” reminding myself on a very important skill: LISTENING.

Most times, we Hear, occasionally we Listen.

Take this recent exchange at a medical clinic as an example. I was all dressed (the fashionable-medical-gown) and confidently set to enter the MRI screening room, when the nurse+technician asked me, if i had done a MRI. Truthfully, told him, just a few months ago I did at another lab in Singapore with a big grin on my face, indicating like all other patients I’m enjoying being in a medical facility.

Similar to the movie scene, the technician totally ignored my verbal and physical response to this query, goes on to explain What is a MRI and my role there as a patient. My guess is that he was either practicing his lines of a ER sitcom script or an sadistic psychologist who is conducting reactionary experiments on unsuspecting patients shoved up a white cylinder with less than 3 inches of room all around and random noises that would go off in the in-the-unlikely event of an aircraft that is imminently going to fall off the sky.

He successfully reminded several times, how claustrophobic is going to be, lie absolutely still unless, I prefer to repeat this beautiful
experience all over again for another 45-60 mins. Wonderful, job well done! Now am thinking about my previous MRI experience, the total concern on what if I need to move/scratch/whatever and dealing with doing it all over again.

If he had actually listened to my response, we could have actually discussed something completely different, say for example quality of the flooring material, taking my mind off the inevitable experience, and achieved his original goal of comforting the patient. His noble gesture when sideways when he just heard me but not listened.

This IMO makes a huge difference in our everyday lives: at work, at home, on the road. Everyday we lead an uncharted lives, relying on our experiences (good+bad). But imagine, if there was some sort of GPS system? It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t concentrate on the road and see what’s ahead, but like a supplementary system to help us navigate through live a bit smoothly.

Listening skill is a bit like stumbling across a breadcrumb of information right in front of our ears. Imagine this nugget of
additional data available in every aspect of your life? Want to be better at negotiations: listen to what other party is say or not
saying; better manager: listen to your subordinates on what is really holding their performance; better as a partner: listen to him/her real concerns.

This additional set of data added with life experiences, could potentially provide a new level of understanding about others/situations. This is the additional advantage successful leaders have over the rest.

So listen to what I have to say…