A few thoughts about listening

My attitude toward you and reaction to you are based
on the messages I receive from you. Not the ones you
send to me. A large percentage of the worlds problems
start with not receiving the same message someone
else is trying to send.

This communication problem can be reduced in direct
proportion to how good I am at listening. So how do I
become better and have fewer problems with family,
neighbors, business associates and others? I pay
attention.

Step one is to be aware of whether I’m getting the right
message. Rephrase, repeat, ask questions, become
engaged in the conversation. If it doesn’t seem to make
sense find out why. If I show you I’m really interested
in understanding you’ll probably work with me to get
there.

Step two is look at it from your point of view. If I am an
accepting, reasonable person looking for answers as
often as giving them we will get along better. If I am
listening for what you mean and hear you out without
argument or judgement talking with me will be easy
and I will learn from you.

The best relationships are between equals. Most of us
react well to those who act like we are interesting
equals. Starting with the idea that those we live with,
work with or encounter are both interesting and
equal is a big step toward friendship and away from
trouble.

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Ken