Why is listening so hard? Why is listening such a rare skill? I believe we would all be happier if we had an equal ability to listen as we have to speak. Are you a good listener?

Listening does not simply mean waiting for your turn to speak. Sometimes it’s awkward being silent when a friend is talking. After all, when friends share thoughts, ideas, stories, feelings and fears, we want to jump in. For too many of us, we stop listening and start thinking about what we want to say. We want to share our thoughts, experiences and advice. If your focus is on what you are going to say when the opportunity presents itself, you lose the meaning of what is being said in the moment.

I am often amazed at the softer reactions and looks of surprise I get when I stay attentive and patiently let others completely finish their thoughts before I begin to speak. I get a sense that my patience to listen allows someone to feel “listened to” for the first time. I actually sense a feeling of relief coming from the person to whom I am listening.

There is no need to worry that you won’t get your turn to speak. Be patient, your turn WILL come. In fact, it will be more rewarding to speak because the person you are speaking to will pick up on your respect and patience and will begin to do the same.

Listening is respectful. Listening means being willing and receptive to learn. Listening is growing. Be a good listener. Listening takes practice. Practice makes progress.

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