By Susie Cortright
Listening makes our loved ones feel worthy, appreciated, interesting, and respected. Ordinary conversations emerge on a deeper level, as do our relationships. When we listen, we foster the skill in others by acting as a model for positive and effective communication.
In our love relationships, greater communication brings greater intimacy. Listening to our kids helps build their self-esteem and the parent-child bond. In the business world, listening saves time and money by preventing misunderstandings. And we always learn more when we listen than when we talk.
Listening skills fuel our social, emotional and professional success, and studies prove that listening is a skill we can learn.
Active listening is really an extension of the Golden Rule. To know how to listen to someone else, think about how you would want to be listened to.
While the ideas are largely intuitive, it might take some practice to develop (or re-develop) the skills. Here's what good listeners know – and you should, too:
As you work on developing your listening skills, you may feel a bit panicky when there is a natural pause in the conversation. What should you say next? Learn to settle into the silence and use it to better understand all points of view.
Ironically, as your listening skills improve, so will your aptitude for conversation. A friend of my husband's once complimented me on my conversational skills. I hadn't said more than four words, but I had listened to him for 25 minutes.
© Susie Michelle Cortright
Susie Cortright is the founder of momscape.com and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground -
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Read more articles by Susie Michelle Cortright.
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