Listening is Gold

By Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar

Published: Thu 7 Oct 2021, 9:00 AM

Let me quote a proverb at the beginning of this article, especially for my young entrepreneur friends — “If speaking is silver, listening is gold”. This wise tutelage was given to me by my father at the time when our business transformed from a single tiny shop to a small company. My father made me the managing director of Al Adil Trading Company and happily retired from his responsibilities. He settled in Mumbai and began to enjoy his golden age with my mother. He would occasionally visit Dubai to see the progress of our business.

In one such visit, I insisted on him accompanying me for a crucial business meeting with a potential client company. I was expecting a big supply order from them, so I had prepared well for the discussion. We were invited by the purchase manager into his cabin. He welcomed us with a warm handshake and introduced himself to us in few words. He then asked me to make a presentation on how we can fulfil their need promptly and consistently. I enthusiastically started speaking and told him of our journey, product range, volume, and market position. To impress him, I talked about some of our prestigious clients as well. The gentleman was patiently listening. When I was done, he praised me and asked to submit the quotation. We left the office.

On returning, I was in an upbeat mood. I expressed my confidence that the company would surely give us an order. Just then I realised that my father hadn’t spoken a single word during the meeting or even afterwards. He sat beside me all the time only as a mute spectator. I asked him why he was so silent and he replied, “Son, I was listening to you just like that manager. There was no need to tell him everything about your company and that too when uncalled. He asked you a simple question how promptly and consistently your company could supply him and in reply you gave him a lengthy and voluble speech. Remember, when big corporate clients invite anybody for negotiations or presentations, they already have his thorough data. To tell them what they already know means a sheer waste of time. Cut your words short and listen more. Think why God has given us two ears but one tongue. Don’t take it as a reprimand, but friendly advice,” I nodded in affirmation.

I have seen many examples of persons where their loose tongue have caused them heavy loss. There was a managing director of a leading bank. He was very fond of chatting and gossiping and that habit was known to everyone. Some rivals took disadvantage of his behaviour, invited him frequently to parties and encouraged him to talk more and more. The executive forgot his status and position and began to entertain the crowd. Once, unfortunately and unknowingly, he leaked some private business information about his organisation and that cost him heavily. He lost his job forever.

Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar is the chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading

More news from KT Network