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The image one has of success and glory is someone speaking on a stage, holding a microphone. Schools have courses in communication, how to speak perfectly, and how to debate well, while social media is providing us means to express ourselves in countless ways.
Modern life is discouraging listening, with loud noise in offices and even coffee shops, and the traffic noise in the streets making us lose our listening ability even more.
Meeting others face-to-face, or even talking over the phone is increasingly unpleasant and intrusive, with text messages and emoji being preferred.
Lack of listening is fuelling the rise of loneliness, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, and even premature death.
Listening isn't about keeping quiet and holding your replies until someone has stopped speaking. True listening is about:
Asking the right questions, the ones about the speaker's interests, and not intrusive or self-promoting, is the key to having a good conversation.
Having a fulfilling conversation bridges differences and makes you find common ground with people with a different and conflicting political stance or ideological position.
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Is a technique for developing our ability to listen, to make a conscious effort to understand what people are really saying.
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Once you know people well enough to feel close, there is a tendency to not listen carefully to them, because you think you already know what they are going to say.
The sum of our daily interactions and activities continually affects us, so that we are not the same as we were the week before or even yesterday.
To accurately understand another person, we have to ask ourselves if this is really what the other person meant, and then to check it.
The closeness-communication bias can also keep us from allowing our loved ones to listen to us.
Its human nature to become complacent about the familiar. People will rather confide their most pressing and worrisome concerns to less familiar people because others are more likely to listen carefully, may ask the right questions and are less judging or apt to interrupt.