Saturday, March 26, 2011

Are You Listening?

Are you any good at it?

I think for most people, the answer is yes. Most of us know how to listen. Probably all of us have, at some point, demonstrated pretty darn good listening skills. Whether it was a parent, a child, a best friend, a new friend, a significant other, or a co-worker, we have been there when someone important to us needed to vent, cry, think out loud, get something off his/her chest, or just try to work through a problem.

The challenge, then, is not knowing how to listen, but knowing when to listen. A good listener knows when to withhold judgement, avoid interrupting, postpone a "teachable moment", can the cheap (or even good) advice, or refrain from rationalizing, and just empathize -- in silence -- with what the other person is saying.

If you can figure out when to talk, and when to just close your trap and listen, you will probably become one of the most respected people in your social network.

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