So here we go...
KEY #1 Listening is not a passive activity!
Listening is anything but a passive, neutral activity. While it may appear that this is all that's going on, many active processes are taking place within the listener--if they're listening well, that is.
You see, listening is not just hearing the words people utter. If that's all there was to it, we could train computers to do the job.
But listening to human beings involves much, much more (which computers will never do). It involves not just accurately hearing what people say, but getting a sense of who they are, how they view life, what they want to accomplish, what concerns they have, what they're afraid of, how they're feeling, what they want from you, and more. It even involves "listening" to what people aren't directly saying, or what they might be too reluctant to say, or what they definitely don't want you to do in response to their communications. Show me a computer that can do all that!
Thus, in order to become a very good listener, we can't just stop with hearing the words people say. We've got to attend to many other details and many other dimensions that don't meet the eye, but that are crucial nonetheless. (This is why it's so difficult to recognize what good listeners do that makes them successful--it's all going on invisibly inside their heads and the rest of their body.)
KEY #2 Listen for unspoken fears/concerns/moods/aspirations
When people speak, they always reveal their deepest thoughts, ambitions, and concerns. Most of the time, neither the speaker, nor the listener, pick up on these subtle, underlying issues...but they are always there.
Good listeners, on the other hand,... [continues]
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