Whenever we are involved in a conversation, we know we should make an effort to listen intently to what the other person is saying. This seems like common sense but it is surprising how many of us don’t do this on a regular basis. How often does your spouse or a close friend say, “Did you hear what I just said? You aren’t paying attention to me.”

Stingy listening is our default mode, especially when emotions are charged.  This happens when we are looking for agreement or with intent “to win.”  The drift is about who’s right.

Generous listening looks for possibilities with a curiosity that leads to discovery.  Generous listening is empathetic listening.  It listens for the contribution of others and is willing to be influenced.  Setting preconceived assumptions and emotional filters aside increases the ability to listen.

On teams and in families this builds trust.Be intentional about practicing these skills in your conversations everyday – at work, at home, with your family and friends.  Do it on the phone and online.  You will discover that hearing transforms into listening.  In doing so you are becoming a great receiver and a Most Valued Player.

Here are the questions I ask myself.  Am I growing in my listening skills? Am I asking more questions than making comments?  Am I showing I care about the answers

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