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Listen Up By Joe Love

There is a close link between respect for another person's viewpoint and effective communication. The most successful people those who communicate well and regularly. They try to understand how others feel, and they respect their feelings. As a result, they accomplish more and have more satisfying relationships.

Unfortunately, most people are not very good at active listening. Active listening is when you set aside your own thoughts, and pay exclusive attention to what the other person is saying. But most of us have our own agendas, and when we talk to someone, we are concentrating not on what they are saying, but on what our next response will be. Therefore, we miss a big chunk of what the other person is trying to communicate.

Language is not the only element you should pay close attention to in communication. Body language provides an abundance of clues as to how the other person really feels. For example, a person might be saying that they agree with you, but their body language may be telling you that they are uncomfortable with your idea and don't want to be part of it.

Here are six points to help you listen actively:

* Be interested and not interesting

* Listen to and not against. Evaluate, don't value judge.

* Be alert for what will not be said. Read facial expressions and body language.

* Grasp feelings and content.

* Paraphrase what the other person says back to them. This will help ensure that you've understood their message.

* When you respond, match the other person's tempo and tone.

Most importantly, don't forget humor. Laughter is great at relieving tension. If we can't laugh occassionally, especially at ourselves, we are in trouble. Laughter clears the air and lets you get on with the issue at hand.

One of the reasons listening is such a powerful tool for your success is because listening builds trust. The more you listen to the other person, the more he or she will trust and believe in you.

Finally, listening builds self-confidence. It takes tremendous self-mastery and self-control to keep your attention focused on the other person. If you don't practice self-discipline in conversation, your mind will wander in a hundred different directions. The more you discipline yourself to pay close attention to what the other person is saying, the more disciplined and self-controlled you will become. By learning to listen well, you will be developing your own character and personality.

All contents Copyright (c) 2004 Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

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