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Shut Up And Listen To This Carefully

Shut Up And Listen To This Carefully

Think about the last time you confided in a friend. Did they understand your thoughts and gave you comfort just by simply listening to your worries and being there for you? Listening looks easy, yet hard to master. Because speaking is often more desirable than listening, and our goal is usually to persuade the other to understand and resonate with our thoughts (even doing it unintentionally).

Speaking is often more desirable than listening, and our goal is usually to persuade the other to understand, and resonate with our thoughts (sometimes even unintentionally). Even though speaking well is often praised and recognised by the public, listening is, in fact, a very important element in good communication. It creates better responses and clarifies conversations. Also, if there are no listeners, there won’t be any speakers.

We compiled 5 books to help you to be a better listener, be it comforting a friend, going to a lecture, or understanding a new concept, these books will help you to minimise information loss from communication.

The Good Listener by James E. Sullivan

    This little book is written by a priest who has to deal with hurt people every day, pointing out how our poor listening hurts others (often unintentionally), and how much we can heal a person just by listening and understanding their feelings.

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    The book gives suggestions on how we can improve our listening and how we can share so the other will understand us better. Even so, do not expect this to be a tool book as you will not become a great listener just by following 5 steps, instead, it is about being aware and learning to walk away from our selfish desire to be listened to. This book is recommended if you are someone working in the field of counselling, or anyone who wants to build a deeper and stronger relationship with others.

    Reading Duration: 1hr 59mins

    Get The Good Listener from Amazon at $10.95

    Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All by Bernard T. Ferrari

      Ferrari reveals how to turn a tin ear into a platinum ear in this book because poor listening can lead to poor business decisions in organisations. The author suggests that the skills and habits of a good listener can be learned and taught, in this book he offers a step-by-step guide to turn readers into an active listener.

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      In the book Power Listening, the author focuses on corporate listening instead of peer-to-peer and interpersonal listening. This book is great for anyone who facilitates or leads groups through decision and design. By identifying the cause of bad corporate listening, readers are able to follow the guide to effective listening.

      Reading Duration: 4hrs 17mins

      Get Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All from Amazon at $32.99

      The Lost Art Of Listening by Michael P Nichols 

        What is it that keeps so many of us from really listening? Nichols answers the question in the book and frames listening as an active art, something we need practices to transform passive reception to real hearing. The book is filled with vivid examples that demonstrate easy-to-learn techniques for becoming a better listener. The book is embedded with empathic listening, a listening technique enabling us to break through misunderstandings and conflict in our relationships. “Listening isn’t a need we have; it’s a gift we give.”

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        Reading Duration: 6hrs 29mins

        Get The Lost Art Of Listening from Amazon at $7.99

        Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston

          The first make-or-break step in persuading anyone to do anything is getting them to hear you out. This book is about listening and giving responses, it emphasises that everyone wants to feel “felt”, and only little appropriate responses can achieve this. Just Listen is a practical how-to guide to becoming a better face-to-face communicator. It reveals how to make a powerful and positive first impression, talk an angry or aggressive person away from an unproductive reaction, and more. If you deal with difficult people around you, this is a must-read for you to not only understand them but also have them felt understood.

          Reading Duration: 5hrs 17mins

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          Get Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone from Amazon at $14.19

          Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George J. Thompson 

            Verbal Judo is a martial art that can show you how to be better prepared for every verbal encounter, including listening and speaking more effectively and engaging people with empathy. The book is written in a conversational style, with real-world examples and tips for controlling your own emotions when you feel verbally attacked.

            “The other person will believe you’re trying to understand. Whether you really are interested is irrelevant.” Someone might disagree with this, yet it is powerful in the listener’s mind because we all know at certain times, all we need is an ear from a friend instead of theories and advice.

            Reading Duration: 4hrs 37mins

            Get Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion from Amazon at $9.48

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            Last Updated on August 6, 2020

            6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

            6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

            We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

            “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

            Are we speaking the same language?

            My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

            When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

            Am I being lazy?

            When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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            Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

            Early in the relationship:

            “Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

            When the relationship is established:

            “Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

            It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

            Have I actually got anything to say?

            When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

            A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

            When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

            Am I painting an accurate picture?

            One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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            How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

            Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

            What words am I using?

            It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

            Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

            Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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            Is the map really the territory?

            Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

            A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

            I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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