One of the greatest skills that we can acquire is the ability to listen to others. Some of the most popular people have this ability. Everyone likes to feel that they are important enough to be listened to without interruptions. If you acquire the ability to listen well you will soon find that you are a very popular person.

The other advantage to being a good listener is that you learn and understand much more about what is going on. How many times have you found yourself waiting to jump into a conversation with you own self-absorbed story, not really listening to the current speaker? Do you find that you often give unsought for advice? Maybe you are one of those listeners who can’t wait to correct others, or criticize what they are saying.

When you are in a conversation, if you find that you interrupt rudely and jump in to correct the speaker, then I encourage you to cultivate the art of listening.

So, what makes a good listener?

* Firstly, try to relax when in conversation and give yourself the opportunity to enjoy what the other person is saying.

* Give the speaker your full attention – make sure they know you are listening, by nodding and making encouraging expressions.

* Clear your mind of whatever you find yourself ready to jump in with.

* Try not to have any preconceived ideas of what the person is saying, they may come out with something totally off the wall and not what you are thinking at all.

* Pay attention to the emotion behind the words. Notice the expressions on their face and if their body language is tense or relaxed.

* Try to listen to the message behind the words, what is not being said, try to detect the real meaning behind their actual words.

* When the other person pauses to take a breath, train yourself to wait and give them chance to carry on with their train of thought. Encourage them to continue with their story by giving encouraging signs or short words such as, and….. then…….. etc They will love you for it.

* Validate what they are saying by allowing them to own their own experience and emotions without you trying to change that.

* Never try and top their story with an even better one of your own, this leaves them feeling very deflated.

* Try not to give advice unless asked for but encourage them to talk it out until they come to their own conclusions.

* Always assume that what someone has shared with you is confidential and don’t allow yourself to gossip about the conversation with others.

* If you don’t have time to listen, then say straight away that it isn’t a good time for you, and reschedule another opportunity for them.

As well as active listening, try to develop other skills, such as empathy, patience and a warm personality, and when talking yourself, always be interesting and attentive to your audience, to ensure you keep them interested.

Written by Christine Sherborne - For more articles like this visit her web site

A Free Gift For You - Some of Life's greatest lessons I have learned
Wouldn't it be great if we knew everything when we start out in life? Lessons are often painfully learned and often costly. My hope is that you will read through the lessons that myself and many others have learned from, avoiding the same mistakes in your own life. If you take these seventy lessons on board they will help make your life run more smoothly, giving you a happy and successful life you deserve.

Author's Bio: 

Christine, is a successful businesswoman with more than twenty five years experience, having owned and run businesses both in New Zealand and the UK, and now in Australia.

She was awarded ‘Auckland Business Woman of the Year’, in 1996, for the remarkable and rapid growth, and success of her packaging company.

Christine originally trained in Art and Design, and later achieved a Diploma in Sales and Marketing. She has used her natural business talents and creative flair to develop innovative and successful business ventures as diverse as packaging, importing, computer sales and manufacturing.

Christine has travelled widely, sourcing product, suppliers, customers and manufacturers for her businesses, giving her a natural empathy, enabling her to negotiate and communicate with a diverse range of nationalities and peoples with confidence.

Being a naturally positive person, she has long been interested in self-help and motivation, and she is widely read in these subjects, using the knowledge gained to help to progress her various business interests.

In her personal life she has experienced major life traumas which have taught her many valuable lessons. Those experiences and how she coped with them, overcame them and restored joy and happiness into her own life, prompted her to write a series of inspirational self-help CDs to help others who may be going through similar traumas.