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Book Freak #15: The Benefits of Listening

Most people tell me I'm a good conversationalist, but in truth I'm more of a listener than a talker.

Book Freak

June 11 · Issue #15 · View online
Short pieces of advice from books

Most people tell me I’m a good conversationalist, but in truth I’m more of a listener than a talker. I don’t learn much by talking. But I’m good at asking questions about things I’m interested in.
I’ve also found that an effective way to talk someone who is argumentative or upset is to never interrupt. Instead, actively listen to them as they talk and absolutely don’t interrupt them until they are done talking (you can say OK, m-hm, or nod your head). Wait until they are silent for a couple of seconds. Then, and only then, reply with your thoughts. If they interrupt you, stop talking immediately, and wait for them to finish. They will soon cool down and listen to you.
In this issue of Book Freak: advice on listening.
Do you have advice from books you’d like to share? Email me:
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Focus on nothing but what the other person is saying
“Instead of prioritizing your argument—in fact, instead of doing any thinking at all in the early goings about what you’re going to say—make your sole and all-encompassing focus the other person and what they have to say. In that mode of true active listening…you’ll disarm your counterpart. You’ll make them feel safe. The voice in their head will begin to quiet down.”
Understand the other person’s hunger
“Understanding a person’s hunger and responding to it is one of the most potent tools you’ll ever discover for getting through to anyone you meet in business or your personal life.” 
Do nothing, expect nothing
“Being relevant simply consists in paying close attention to the point that is being talked about and saying nothing that is not significantly related to it.” 
― Mortimer J. Adler, How to Speak How to Listen
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