A lot of misunderstandings in life are dUE TO people not listening. TRY THESE TIPS TO BE A BETTER LISTENER.

Listening is an art. It's crucial in business and also in your personal life — with your significant other, friends, children and other people around you. We live in a world that moves fast. Sometimes that causes us to hurry conversations instead of taking a moment to truly listen. This haste — or tuning out because you've mentally moved on to your next task — can cause you to miss important details, as well as the speaker's intentions. Here are points will help you understand THE POWER OF ACTIVE LISTENING and ways that it can positivity impact and enhance your relationships:

  • Active listening expresses that you care - Think of being a strong listener as a way to show the person talking that they matter. Let them express their thoughts in their entirety and not try to presume you know the details or what they will say next. Doing this will create a camaraderie and mutual respect between you at that person.

  • Avoids drama and hurt feelings - Ever get into an argument and the other person says, "We talked about this. Why don't you ever listen?" Admittedly, I have! Instances such as this are caused by one person saying something they deem important and the other person not taking the information in. To help avoid wires getting crossed and verbal messages being missed, pause what you are doing, turn to the individual talking, and focus on them. Giving them your full attention will also help the other person feel more understood.

  • Helps you see another side to the story - Your perception of situations may not be the same as someone else's perception. We are biased in the way that we sometimes believe what we think is RIGHT, and what someone thinks is WRONG. The truth is, there is no right or wrong... everything is just a matter of perception and perspective. So when you take the time to listen, you can open your mind to the other person's view of a matter or subject. And you can discover a new angle that you might not have realized otherwise in the process.

  • Boosts confidence and capabilities - Thorough listening skills can have positive effects on a person's life at work and at home. Good practice is also repeating back what you heard to ensure you absorbed it correctly. For instance, in a conversation I often say, "I'm going to repeat back what I heard" followed by the info I heard as I understood it... and if heads are nodding, then I can move ahead with the confidence of knowing that I'm on the right track. The action of repeating information back also sets up expectations so there are no surprises on what direction you're heading next.

  • Teaches you patience - I used to be someone who had a thought and couldn't wait to blurt it out. That turned out to be a bad habit that I (thankfully) learned to break. Not only can it seem rude to jump in while someone else is speaking, but it showed how impatient I was. So instead, I learned to catch myself. I now take a deep breath, jot down a note of what I want to say, and address it once the floor is open to speak and respond. Once you learn patience in this part of your life, you can apply it to other areas such as having patience with a project that's taking too long, dealing with a difficult co-worker, or even responding in a more positive way to your children.

  • Makes you more approachable - When people see that you're listening intently, they will feel more at ease around you. Ever talk to someone who didn't listen... they just wanted to push their words out AT you instead of talking WITH you? How did that make you feel? Most likely, not good! That's why it's important to put ourselves in other people's shoes and make sure we're not exhibiting communication habits that don't include patient listening. When people feel you are truly paying attention, they will be more likely to open up with you and around you!

  • Avoids wasting energy - Not listening intently can cause mixups and things like projects and tasks to have to be redone. This can be especially true with co-workers but also applies to relationships, such as with your spouse or children. If we truly listen and therefore have a clearer understanding, we'll be on the same page from the get-go, then energy (and not to mention time) can be saved in the end. Now that you know these key points to being a strong listener, go ahead and apply them to your next conversations. Take notice of how the discussions and communication went. Most likely you will see an improvement right away. Mastering the art of being a good listener will take work and that's to be expected. Best part is that the more you work on it, the easier it gets. It will become second nature before you know it!

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