What you discover when you really listen

15 min Source: TED Talk

BLUF

Music helped this artist realise how he could better engage in meaningful conversations and become a better listener.

Summary

In this at-times-emotional TED Talk, song-writer Hrishikesh Hirway talks about how the true meaning behind many songs is lost on the listener. In 2014, Hirway started a podcast to bridge the distance between the song's creator and the audience. He has interviewed hundreds of musicians, including Fleetwood MacU2, and Billie Eilish, about the meaning behind their songs. But Hirway's conversations with these artists made him wonder if he was genuinely listening to people in the same way he was trying to listen to music. So now, when he is engaged in a conversation, he ensures he doesn't take the focus away from the person he's listening to and turn it back onto himself. Hirway believes a prerequisite to listening to people is going into the conversation open-minded and curious. He's also a big believer in the power of nonverbal communication, such as nodding, as a way to let the other person know you're engaged. Last year, Hirway's mother passed away. He tells the audience of a dream he had about his mother a few weeks after her funeral. That dream led to a hauntingly beautiful song he wrote about his sadness and gratitude for that moment. At the end of the TED talk, Hirway plays the song for his audience. Transcript available here.