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Be A Great Listener-Four Tips

We spend 75% of our wakeful time communicating:

-40% Listening

-35% Talking

-16% Reading

-9% Writing

Typically people hear less than 25% of a conversation. If you improved your listening skills what would you gain?

Using the 40% listening statistic as a bench mark, it is clear that 40% of your income is contingent on hearing others. Improved listening skills would improve your productivity, ease tension and improve your relationship with superiors, co-workers and subordinates. If you improve your listening skills by 50% your total listening capacity would be 50% compared to the typical 25%.

You can quickly improve your listening skills by knowing these important tips. Using Eric Berne's transactional analysis paradigm the following listening habits either limit your effectiveness or enhance your listening ability. Berne identified these self-limiting listening habits as Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim.

The Persecutor thinks, "I'm OK but you're not OK." The persecutor fault-finds, blame fixes, nit-picks and looks for an opportunity to say "gotcha" to the speaker. No matter what is passed over the Persecutor's desk, they find something wrong with it – pulling out their red pen, they mark and circle mistakes. They focus on what is wrong rather than what is right.

The Rescuer thinks, "I'm OK, but you're not OK," This listener, however, has a different agenda than the Persecutor. They are the continual advice-givers; they take on other people's problems; and they often give inappropriate advice because they need to be needed. People seldom want to be rescued and are not asking to be rescued. This 'hurts the feelings' of the Rescuer. They need to be needed. They think they have to do everything themselves and will work 10 to 12 hour days because they are not comfortable allowing others to take the responsibility. The rescuer does not allow others to solve their own problems or do their own thinking.

The Victim thinks, "I'm not OK, but you are OK." They let their emotions get in the way of their objectivity. They do not hear directions because it is all about them. Their internal talk is mostly negative and detracts from the message being sent or they might distort the message to confirm their belief – I'm not OK. The Victim listener can become a wedge in a team and be the one bad apple that spoils the team's effective functioning.

The Effective Listener thinks, I am OK, You're OK. They keep their emotions in check and allow everyone the opportunity to speak. Their internal talk is mostly positive. They respect others, set boundaries, ask open ended questions, give appropriate positive feedback or corrective recommendations.

Once you understand these listener styles you can systematically improve the way you hear other people's message. Identify your style, if you are a Persecutor, Rescuer or Victim – change your self-talk and dump your old habits. Likewise, identify other people's style and avoid being caught in the Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim drama.

Source by Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD

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