Avraham (Avi) Kluger is a professor of Organisational Behaviour at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the first born of parents who both survived the Holocaust. His award-winning research into the role of feedback in the workplace piqued his interest in the world of listening. In his journey of discovering listening, Avi underwent a dramatic personal change – realising that being properly listened to gives you the space to become your authentic self.
Avi is currently conducting a meta-analysis that examines over 900 previously observed effects of listening. He is distilling the existing body of research, which often focussed on narrow, disparate fields, to uncover the big picture of the impact of listening.
You don’t need to be a psychologist to improve the wellbeing of people around you. Avi explains that good listeners help the mental health of speakers – reducing depression and anxiety and increasing a sense of meaning in life.
Listening can, in fact, change somebody’s opinion. If you are being well listened to, you will engage with both or more sides of an argument. Whereas if you are being poorly listened to, you will likely double down on one point of view. Avi shares a story of a student who cheated attendance to his classes. Good listening made him realise his own fault in the situation.
Avi also explains that the culture in Israel can be very argumentative and not respectful of listening, demonstrated by a high rate of interruption. This also means, however, that the core of what a person is saying is interrogated, rather than attacking the person themselves.
Before entering the conversation, make the decision to be invested in the other person. Avi says that good listening flows from this single intention.
“A listener shapes, very strongly, the quality of the talking of the other person” – Avi Kluger
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