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Tired of not Being Heard? Start by Listening

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Have you ever tried to say something important and get frustrated because the person just will not listen. This happens to everyone, from the home to the office. Though there can be many reasons why a person will not listen to you, though the problem can often be a lack of adequate listening on your part.

We all know that a person will usually take the advice of a friend over an advisor, no matter how qualified the advisor may be. This is because there is a bond between the person and their friend. The friend is someone who cares for us and wants the best for us, and we know it. That is why we trust them.

Any salesperson knows that to truly be successful, you must build a relationship of trust with you client. A relationship of trust is merely a formalized description of a friend. Just like a friend, before a person will listen to a salesperson, they must first feel that you care for them are are only going to do what is in their best interest. So how does one build a relationship of trust? By being a good listener.

A good listener is someone who gives the other the desire to communicate and makes the person talking feel comfortable while visiting.

As a friend, to be a truly good listener, the person needs to trust you. They need to believe that you care for them, are interested in what they have to say, and can empathize or sympathize with them. Start by showing that you care for them. Also let them know you would like to hear what they have to say and when they start talking, you stop. Give them your full attention and look directly at them (without staring). Think about how what they are saying makes you feel rather than what the solution to the problem is, and ask yourself how you think they feel while talking. Are they depressed, anxious, upset, or excited. When given the opportunity, summarize back to them what they said to you. Finally it is your turn to respond.

Express how what they said made you feel and that you are here for them whenever. Only at this point, if asked, should you offer advice. Doing so as if it were you in this situation. Not as “here is what you should do”, but as “if I was in such a difficult situation, I would …”, or as “I was once in a similar situation, back then I …”

Advice, in this way, is welcome and more easily received for three reasons. (1)You are their friend and have shown them you are most interested in their friendship. They now trust you. (2)A true conversation is a give and take. As one expresses themselves, the other listens. Then, the roles reverse and the talker now listens. It is natural in our mind when we have been conversing to stop and listen. (3)Because they have asked for your opinion, they are more likely to listen and accept than if you had just given or offered to give your opinion.

We all want to be heard, typically because we feel like we have something to contribute. For someone to be interested in what we have to say, we must first be a good listener. Take the time to be interested in what the people around have to say and how they feel. Give them the time they need to fully express themselves. Let them feel that you are their friend and that any decision they make will not change that. Then, only offer advice or wisdom, never tell them what they should do.

By following these simple steps, you can become closer to your friends, know and be known deeper by them, and be able to offer truly welcome advice.

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