Listening Tunes Up Your Memory Skills

Good listeners are popular! Psychologists, therapists, communication experts and memory expertsare constantly telling you that being a good listener will improve your life in all sorts of ways, and they would be absolutely right!

Being a good listener is not a born skill, it is learned behavior, and the better you get at your lessons the better your life will become, the better your memory will be, and the closer you will be to the people in your life that mean the most to you — guaranteed!

We are bombarded with all types of feedback that enters through your ears and is processed through your brain. Some sounds you can tune out, but you have to learn to recognize what is valuable information to retain and what can be scrapped. For instance: Your wife told you her parents were coming next week for a visit. You heard her say her parents were coming, but ignored when, so set up a special golf date with an important client in another city that requires a night layover, for the day they were to arrive. Your wife is angry, and you won’t hear the end of it. If you had been paying attention you could have avoided a lot of anger — because either way you go (postponing the golf date or going anyway) you will be on someone’s list.

Our marriage, our jobs and our friendships all depend on good listening skills. Most advisors will tell you to look people in the eye, repeat what they say, ask questions and don’t interrupt others while they are speaking. These are all good pieces of advice, but they focus on the technical aspects of listening, but they don’t get to your soul and instill in us the desire to listen.

There are seven key elements that should be considered when trying to retrain yourself to become a better listener.

1. Does it compute? Listening isn’t just hearing, it’s processing what you hear. Pay attention to the person’s body language as well as the words that are coming out of their mouths. Get involved, be concerned, and ask questions that will help you remember better.

2. Look for subtle hints. Empathize with the person, let them know you understand what they are saying and feeling — and not saying. Listen to your intuition and tactfully ask probing questions. Oftentimes your intuition is right on, so learn to fine-tune this Sometimes you just know intuitively. Sometimes, you can tactfully check out your assumptions by probing and compassionate questioning.

3. Learn to understand human behavior. This may require getting a confidant or mentor to help guide you through the process. Interacting with others helps you to learn how to deal with people on a personal level. Professionals learn from year of experience, and it’s not something you will gain overnight, but simple observation goes a long way. Hint: not all talk shows are Jerry Springer, so listen to interviews conducted by interviewers and you could learn a lot about human nature.

4. Validate the views of the people you are in contact with. Find something positive to say about what the person is saying, and make them feel as if what they are telling you is the most important thing you have heard. Often we listen with an ear toward disagreeing. People want to know someone else is paying attention to them, and what they have to say has value.

5. Listen without giving an opinion — unless asked. One of the biggest mistakes men make is to think that woman tell them something and want them to “fix” it. Often they simply just want to let off steam, and don’t need a Knight in Shining Armour to go in and defend them. Focus on the other person and what they are feeling. You may not always be able to stop wanting to offer an opinion or insight, but wait until they ask.

6. Train yourself to “listen” for clues of displeasure or discomfort. Often, when a person is upset with your, or embarrassed about disappointing you, they will give off “vibes.” Pick up on those vibes and redirect them, or put them at ease, before they tell you. Good listening skills include being able to put people at ease, even though it may be uncomfortable to you. Listen for people’s integrity, character and level of commitment — as well as sincerity.

7. Listen “positively.” Even if the person you are speaking to has a tale of woe, come back with a positive remark, such as: “At least you all came out alive,” or “It could have been much worse.” Seeing the light at the end of a tunnel and are only seeing the negatives. A good listener finds a tactful way to give them hope.

You are not going to learn these skills overnight. They take practice, time, and a desire to make the changes necessary to become a good listener. You will find, however, they are worth the effort.

This is Ron White. . As a memory expert I have come to find that learning to listen is one of the best tools to improving your memory, and hope you found these tips valuable.

Memory Training


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