Chapter 3

Listening

‘There was speech in their dumbness, language in their very gesture.’

William Shakespeare

We spend most of our lives listening. Your relationships – and the quality of them – are, for the most part, determined by your skills in listening. In fact, in the whole communication process it’s your skills as a listener that determine your effectiveness.

During any interaction there’s a dual status that you occupy. At times you’re either:

  • listener or
  • speaker.

If you’re typical of most people (hand-on-heart time) you prefer to be talking rather than listening. As Larry King, the former US television talk show host for CNN, once put it: ‘everybody’s fighting for airtime’. Noted for his listening ‘style’ as he interviews celebrities, ...

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