When journalist Kate Murphy was writing her book, You’re Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters, few people she asked could define what it meant to be a good listener—but they did know how a bad listener behaved: interrupting, checking their phones, responding in a self-involved way. “The sad truth,” she says, "is that people have more experience being cut off, ignored and misunderstood than heard to their satisfaction”.
How to reclaim the lost art of listening? After years studying the neuroscience, psychology and sociology of listening, as well as consulting numerous professional listeners (including a C.I.A. agent, focus group moderator, radio producer, priest, and bartender), Murphy “discovered that listening goes beyond simply hearing what people say. It also involves paying attention to how they say it and what they do while they are saying it, in what context, and how what they say resonates within you.”
Good listening has many rewards. Your relationships will be stronger, you will gain more knowledge, and you will certainly have more interesting conversations.
Do you consider yourself a good listener? How do you keep your attention focused on your conversation partner? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
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