February 5, 2003.
"Listening, not imitation, may be the greatest form of flattery."
Dr. Joyce Brothers
Listen up; I've got something important to tell you. Hey, I'm talking to you. Yes, you! OK, are you listening now? Wait a minute; you are still not paying attention, are you? I want you to stop what you are doing because I'm only going to say this once. Listening is a lost art today. What do you mean you didn't get it the first time? Yes, I will say it again, but this time you really need to hear what I say. Ready? Are you sure this time?
All right - here goes. Listening is a lost art today.
What's that, you want me to say it one more time? Come on, get the peanut butter out of your ears and listen up. OK, one last time. Listening is a lost art today! Good grief. It seems to get harder and harder to effectively communicate with people every day.
"Give me the gift of a listening heart."
When it comes to communication, there is usually way too much talking and way too little listening going on. Regardless of whether the breakdown occurs at home, in the workplace or somewhere in between, people by and large have lost their ability to listen to others.
In order to make the most of our relationships with others, we need to become exceptional listeners. We need to take the time to LISTEN to what people say and what people mean when they say it. By really listening to what others are saying, were able to respond to what they are saying in a much more positive manner.
"It is the province of knowledge to speak. And it is the privilege of wisdom to listen."
Oliver Wendell Holmes
A good communicator learns early on the importance of letting others talk and also learns how to effectively listen as well. Without question, talking is our primary way of expressing ourselves and exchanging information with others. Our relationships depend on our ability to effectively communicate what we think and how we feel. If you truly want to enjoy the best life has to offer, you need to break the sound barrier.
You must learn how to open up and project your feelings, your emotions, your thoughts and your personality. You should break down walls that prevent or impede productive interaction and communication with others. You should look for chances to build people up, not tear people down. When you have something to say to others, make sure the something that comes out of your mouth is positive and constructive, never negative or destructive.
As you systematically break one sound barrier after another, you will find your interpersonal skills and relationships with others improving dramatically as a result.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."
Effective communication is never a one way street, but rather a give and take between the parties involved, where the interaction flows back and forth. Regardless of whether the communication is an informal exchange of information or a private expression of feelings, it is imperative that all parties participate. In order for us to effectively interact with others, not only do we need to get good at talking, we also need to immeasurably improve our listening skills as well.
Anyone can talk, but great communicators are the winners who have mastered the fine art of listening.
If you are having a difficult time communicating with someone else, maybe, just maybe it is time for you to stop talking so much. After all, shouldn't you let the other person share in the conversation too? You should also get in the habit of looking people in the eyes when you talk to them and when you listen as well. People trust a person who looks them in the eyes.
And finally, learn to LISTEN, LISTEN and LISTEN some more. You will be astonished at how much you can learn from other people and how much you can learn about other people when your mouth is closed. So stop, look and really listen.
Now you're talking!
The Bottom Line: Start listening more and talking less and you'll start having some real meaningful conversations with others.
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