Communication,  Friendship and relationship advice,  social skills

Deep listening

“How often do you offer your undivided attention to others? Do you inquire into how they’re doing, what’s happening in their world, or what they need to feel safe and happy? Or are you quick to talk about yourself and see how others might serve you?” ~John Amodeo, PhD

One of the hallmarks of a great conversationalist is the ability to listen. Ideally, when someone asks what you’ve been up to lately, you hope they’ll pay attention to your answer and ask follow-up questions. Too often lately, most people seem eager to shut you up, derail your topic, and reroute the conversation back to themselves.

How often have you walked away from a conversation feeling as if you weren’t really heard or your input was disregarded?

Sadly, social media platforms — including blogs like this one — are partly to blame. They’re designed for posting non-stop news about our own lives or things that interest us. So, maybe we’ve all grown accustomed to one-sided (“all about me”) chatter offline? With that in mind, I’m trying harder to listen deeply when others are speaking, and to ask follow-up questions about the topics they’ve introduced. ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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