Everyone has a need to talk and be heard.  Treat others as if they are the most important people on the planet because – in their minds – they are.  Everyone wants to feel that they are significant and have meaningful ideas to share.  Those who choose to really listen will always have someone to talk with.  Notice that I wrote talk with, not talk to.  The key is to:

Turn people ON to you by tuning IN to them.

Good listeners absorb and reflect on what they hear.  They are active in the listening process.  This requires energy and motivation because listening is more than just hearing.  We must become active listeners rather than passive hearers.

Often our motivation to actively listen is not all that high. We think we can get by without really focusing. This is a mistake. The ability to value what others say is critical to building priceless relationships.  To make solid first impressions, be determined to understand completely what others are trying to communicate.

“No man ever listened  himself out of a job.”          — Calvin Coolidge

Collect your thoughts and focus.  Think only about the present conversation.  How often do you catch yourself thinking about some unrelated issue when you should be listening?  It is difficult to tune in when you’re preoccupied with previous conversations or unfinished tasks.

Business philosopher Jim Rohn is quoted as saying, “One of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is the gift of your attention.”  Rohn is right.  Don’t get distracted by other people’s nearby conversations.  If you have to, walk the person you are speaking with to a quieter place in the room to have your initial chat.