by Michael Holland    

For most people their weakest communication skill is their ability to listen. Why is that? Most of us can process information faster than another person talks, so we have lots of extra time to think of our response, judge or evaluate the speaker or just let our mind drift off to more pleasant thoughts. But what are we missing? A lot!

Not fully listening to someone talk means that we are likely to misinterpret what he is saying and typically has us sending non-verbal signals that we don’t intend. Practice really listening to what someone is saying to you. Start by letting him finish without interrupting, then practice paraphrasing or restating parts of a person’s conversation to insure that you understood him accurately. You’ll find that fewer mistakes are made and relationships are supported – all leading to increased productivity.