There’s an old saying that you should listen twice as much as you speak. This assumes you are really listening. Most people, when not talking, are thinking about what they will say next. This is not listening. To be an effective listener, try these tips:

  • Focus on what is being said: Put your focus on the conversation. Try to visualize what is being said. Pick out key ideas as they are presented.
  • Take a minute: When it is your turn to talk, if you need to think about what you want to say take a breath. Pause. You can say something like, “That’s very interesting,” or “let me think about that for a moment,” before jumping in.
  • Don’t push your point of view: Obviously you will have your own opinions and point of view on whatever subject you are discussing. Focus your comments on moving the conversation forward. Avoid confrontations and acknowledge good points that were made.
  • Keep an open mind: Listen with the idea that you can learn something. You never know where new information and new ideas will come from.

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