Listening: The other half of the conversation

Submitted on Thursday December 29th, 2011

Good communication requires both speaking and listening. Oddly enough, if you make a specific effort to listen, it can open doors. Once "heard," the other person may be more willing to hear your point of view.

Deep listening is more difficult than it sounds. It's not passive. It requires concentration. It also takes humility and empathy. Here are some tips:

Consider the setting

  • Schedule your talk at an unhurried time.
  • Turn off the TV, music, and cell phone.
  • Make sure the seating and room temperature are comfortable.

Observe yourself. Are you

  • distracted by physical needs or strong emotions? If you are hungry, upset, or tired, you won't be able to concentrate on what the other person is saying. Consider talking after a meal or in the morning when you've had a chance to rest.