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The Most Important Thing



Written by MJ Reporter Willow LaMunyon


I learned the most important thing in a class for salespeople and had it reinforced by a customer. What is the most important thing, you ask? It is listening, real listening. So how did a customer reinforce it to me? He really listened to me, and the result was unforgettable despite the fact that all I was talking about was the chair he wanted to buy. He got just what he wanted and an unasked-for discount. Since then, I have used real listening and, with FB, real reading often.


Here are the steps to real listening:

1-When having a conversation, turn off the TV or any background distraction.


2-Don't take notes or play with a pencil or do anything but listen.


3-Don't plan how you are going to respond to the other person's remarks. If you miss focusing on what the other person is saying to plan your response, you are not helping or real listening, no matter how wise or relevant you know your remarks will be.


4-If you can't keep from planning the way you want to respond, don't interrupt even though you know you will forget the wisdom you wish to impart. Your greatest wisdom will come from listening with your mind and eyes as well as your ears. Use your eyes to read those in between the lines that come from body language. Don't focus on body language, but do notice and remember whatever it is that you can't remember to say is not as important to the other person as being heard.


5-Make sure you understand what the other person is trying to get across to you and if you need to ask about it, then say something like do you mean then repeat what you think they were trying to get across to you. It is an eyeopener to find out that you have misunderstood the remark when the speaker clarifies their comments.


6-If you completely disagree with the other person, ask questions. Asking and answering questions is the best way to turn a possible argument into a discussion. It doesn't work every time, but hey, it's worth a shot, and you both just might learn why the other person thinks the way they do.


7- If you must end or temporarily end the conversation, do it. An example would be I want to hear what you are saying, but I have to take a restroom break. Or I need to leave for a funeral; please let me know when it is convenient for you to finish our conversation.


8-If a conversation becomes long, and you feel like it will never end, switch from real listening to regular listening and keep reminding yourself that it actually will end, and focus on a polite and kind way to hurry the end to that conversation. Not all exchanges are for real listening, but those that are can be life-improving for both the speaker and the listener.


I wonder how many wars would not have happened if national leaders really listened to one another. I wonder how many marriages would have been saved or separated with less pain if couples would have done some real listening. I wonder if we listened to people we didn't like if we would find common ground or realize this was not a person we needed in our lives. I wonder if it would help our parenting skills if we really listened to our children unless they are telling us the plot of a movie. You really don't have to do real listening there.


Hey, are you paying attention to me?


I would like to give a shoutout here to Toastmasters club that teaches speaking from conversational to public teaching as well as LISTENING





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