|Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Listen to Others and They Will Listen to You If you are willing to learn how to listen, it will take hard work to learn the skills and constant practice to stay in shape. However, it is all worth it. Remember, people feel relieved when they find someone who understands what they have to say. Once you truly understand others by actively listening to them, they will most likely reciprocate by listening to you and trying to understand your viewpoint. Isn't that what effective communications is all about?
Fight off distractions. Train yourself to listen carefully despite such external distractions as a ringing telephone, passersby, or outside noises. Focus on words, ideas, feelings, and the underlying intent of others.
Do not trust your memory. Take notes, when appropriate. However, keep your notes brief, because listening ability is impaired while you are writing. All you need to write down is something to jog your memory later so that you can recall the complete content of the message.
Use feedback. Constantly try to check your understanding of what you hear. Do not hear only what you want to hear. In addition, consistently check to see if the other person wants to comment or respond to what you have previously said.
Relax. When your people are speaking to you, try to put them at ease by creating a relaxed and accepting environment. Do not give the impression you want to jump right in and speak.
Listen attentively. Face others straight on, with uncrossed arms and legs, and lean slightly forward. Establish good eye contact. Nod affirmatively and use appropriate facial expressions when called for, but do not overdo it.
Create a positive listening environment. Try to ensure an atmosphere of privacy away from sources of distraction. Do not violate the other person's "personal space." Take great effort to make sure that the environment is conducive to effective listening.
Ask questions. Ask open-ended questions to allow others to express their feelings and thoughts. The effective use of questions shows them that you are interested and that you are listening, and it allows you to contribute to the conversation.
Be motivated to listen. Without the proper attitude, all the previous suggestions for effective listening are for naught. Try to keep in mind that there is no such thing as an uninteresting speaker -- there are only disinterested listeners.
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