|Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to
Listen and Learn There are lots of potential distractions. If you can't avoid them, minimize them. You do that by focusing totally on the speaker and paying attention.
Here are four specific techniques that will help you concentrate while listening:
1. Take a deep breath. This will prevent you from interrupting, and will provide your brain with invigorating oxygen. Try it now, and as you're doing it, try to speak. It doesn't work very well, does it?
2. Consciously decide to listen. No matter who's speaking, pay attention and listen for information that's particularly interesting or useful. You never know what you might learn. As show-biz wit Wilson Mizner once said, "A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something."
3. Mentally paraphrase what the speaker is saying. This will prevent you from daydreaming about irrelevant and superfluous topics. You'll concentrate on the speaker instead of yourself.
4. Maintain eye contact. Where your eyes focus, your ears follow. You're most likely to listen to what you are looking at.
So, if you can't eliminate a distraction, use one or more of these techniques: breathe deeply, decide to listen, paraphrase, or maintain eye contact. They'll help you handle the distractions.
I think listening is the most neglected and least understood of all the aspects of communication. And, largely, this weak link springs from bad habits. In short, we haven't been trained to listen.
An untrained listener is likely to understand and retain only 50 percent of a conversation moments after it's finished. This retention rate drops to an even less impressive 25 percent just 48 hours later. So an untrained listener's recall of a conversation that took place more than a couple of days ago will always be incomplete and usually inaccurate. No wonder people seldom agree about what's been discussed!
|Here's to more personal insight,
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