Can We Listen?

“Listen to my words.”

I must use that phrase a hundred times a day with my young children. They tend to be independent thinkers, and they succumb easily to their juvenile whims. That’s when I have to look them in the eyes and say, “Listen to my words.”

How many times a day should someone think of using that phrase with you?

It is common for people to hear only ten percent of what is said to them. Many times this is due to poor listening skills. Poor listening skills can alienate the people you work with and damage your relationships. Without the ability to listen, you are only responding to the thoughts in your own head.

People like to feel respected and important. Proficient listening skills show you appreciate the person you’re speaking with. Listening includes trying to understand what the other person is saying as well as feeling.

Here are five ways to improve your listening skills:
1. Maintain good eye contact
2. Ask questions
3. React using head and face gestures
4. Summarize the important points periodically
5. Maintain attentive and respectful body language

If nothing else, you should always remember Mark Twain’s words: “If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two mouths and one ear.”

     Posted on November 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm | No comment

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