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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I believe listening is taken for granted way too often in our society today. During a conversation, we want to quickly jump in and interject every immediate thought that comes to our mind. However, listening is a vital part to communicating with others. We must first be able to hear what the other person is saying before responding to them adequately. Also, we must understand what we heard before properly responding to the conversation and not jumping to conclusions about what the other person is saying.

Maybe we take listening for granted because it requires too much concentration, but isn't it worth it to hear and understand what someone else is saying before responding? Maybe it requires us to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, which is difficult to do, but if we take the time to talk to another person, shouldn't we give them that respect? It is difficult, but wouldn't relationships be so much better if we took the time to actually hear what others are saying?

Listening helps us to understand the person we are talking to better. It will also help us solve conflicts sooner and with less stress.

Listening requires both verbal and nonverbal skills: Nonverbal skills include body language-eye contact, facial expressions, etc., which includes both our own body language and observing the body language of the other person in the conversation. Verbal skills include using words and phrases that the other person has previously used, paraphrasing what they have said, summarizing their points, etc.

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen." -Ernest Hemingway

Hope this helps. Let me know if any of the skills help you out in the future.

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