Are you REALLY listening?

Carl frequently felt he knew what people were going to say before they said it. If they hesitated at all, he would finish their sentences for them. He wondered why some of his colleagues at work seemed to avoid him.

Jodi frequently interrupted her sister. When Beth tried to tell her something, Jodi interjected her own story before Beth had a chance to finish speaking. Jodi couldn't understand why Beth often seemed angry and frustrated with her.

As a child, when my son, Ethan, talked to me, he would often talk to my back. Proud of my ability to multi-task, I would busy myself with an activity that I deemed important. I'm afraid that my son felt unimportant in the process.

At one time or another, we all fail to listen to others. We might busy our minds figuring out what to say next. Perhaps we feel bored and allow our thoughts to wander to our weekend plans or our next meal. Whenever we do so, we stop listening.

Our failure to listen has an effect on our conversation partners. They leave our presence feeling incomplete and dissatisfied. Of course they do! They haven't been heard!

Let me offer you a simple tool that will make you a great listener. It's called Empowered Listening, and here's how you do it.

You make a conscious choice to see the person in front of you either as capable or worthy of respect. Then hold that image of the person in your mind throughout the conversation.

Such a mental activity changes the energy between you. The other person will leave the conversation feeling fulfilled and satisfied. She may not even know why. Even if you say very little, she may think of you as a great conversationalist!

For the past seven years my coach and mentor, Dr. Carol McCall, has been listening to me in this empowering way. I finish each of my coaching calls with her knowing that I have been truly heard.

Dr. McCall has a "listening" for me as capable of accomplishing great things. Because of her, I have come to see myself in that way as well. So I have stepped out of my comfort zone to lead workshops and to write this newspaper column.

Do you see the implications this tool can have on parenting, on team leadership, on family relationships and on your friendships?

Incorporating Empowered Listening into your life changes you. In order to hold someone else in your empowering thoughts, you must give up drama and grudges. You can't possibly practice this tool without shifting yourself into a higher state of consciousness.

Begin practicing today!

To learn more communication tools, attend one of Dr. Marta's listening and communication workshops. Write her at drmartacoach@gmail.com or call (928) 451-9482.

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