Gratitude is Seeing the Miracle in Every Moment.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Part 2- Six Ways to Make People Like You "Be a Good Listener"

Dale Carnegie recommends an easy way to become a good conversationalist; to listen intently and listen because you are genuinely interested. This kind of listening is one of the highest compliments we can pay anyone.

"Few human beings are proof against the implied flattery of rapt attention." -Jack Woodford in Strangers in Love

"There is no mystery about successful business intercourse… exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you is very important. Nothing else is so flattering as that." -Charles W. Elliot, former President of Harvard University

When one of America's great novelists, Henry James, recalled Mr. Elliot as a past master of the art of listening, he elaborated: "Dr. Elliot's listening was not mere silence, but a form of activity. Sitting very erect on the end of his spine with hands joined in his lap, making no movement except that he revolved his thumbs around each other faster or slower, he faced his interlocutor and seemed to be hearing with his eyes as well as his ears. He listened with his mind and attentively considered what you had to say while you said it… At the end of an interview the person who had talked to him felt that he had had his say."

This reminds me of a section in Chapter 10 in Preach My Gospel. The chapter is entitled, Teaching Skills and the sub-category I'm referencing, Listen on page 185. In my own study and application of interpersonal communication and what listening entails, I've gleaned the knowledge that there are actually 3 types of listening one must engage in to fully interact with other human beings.

1. Physical Listening- When you listen to others, you understand them better. When they know that their thoughts and feelings are important to you, they are more likely to be receptive to your teachings, share personal experiences, and make commitments. As you listen, you will be able to more effectively adapt your teaching to their needs and interests. This statement rings true not just for a missionary. But who wish to positively influence others and win lasting friendships. Physically showing an interesting others, offers them the opportunity to trust you with information about their life; past experiences, current events, and future dreams and aspirations. Obtaining this knowledge, enables the listener to find ways to meet that person's needs and in some cases, also meet their own needs, whether it be personal or professional.

2. Spiritual Listening- Especially listen for the whisperings of the Spirit. As other share their feelings with you, thoughts or ideas may enter your mind that are directed by the Spirit. You will also be able to understand what others are trying to express. 
While others talk to you, avoid the tendency to think about what you are going to say. Make sure you are really concentrating on the person speaking rather than planning your response.

"More important than speaking is listening. These people are not lifeless objects disguised as a baptismal statistic.  They are children of God, our brothers and sisters, and they need what we have. Be genuine. Reach out sincerely. Ask these friends what matters most to them. What do they cherish, and what do they hold dear? And then listen. If the setting is right, you might ask what their fears are, what they yearn for, or what they feel is missing in their lives. I promise you that something in what they say will always highlights truth of the gospel about which you can bear testimony and about which you can then offer more… If we listen with love, we won't need to wonder what to say. It will be given to us--by the Spirit and by our friends." -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

The application of these words from Elder Holland is best in correspondence with not just missionary labors and efforts, but in all aspects of effective communication. People we interact with should be viewed as more than just a statistic for our temporal gain, whatever our end goal might be. We MUST listen with love. Love should be our first priority in ever endeavor we seek to pursue.

3. Body Language; Soul Listening- People also communicate but the way they sit, their facial expressions, what they do with their hands, their tone of voice, and the movements of their eyes. Observe these unspoken messages; they can help you understand the feelings of those you teach. Also be aware of your own body language. Send a message of interest and enthusiasm by listening sincerely. Don't be afraid of silence. People often need tim to think about and reply to questions or to express what they are feeling. You might pause after you have asked a question, after sharing a spiritual experience, or when people are having difficulty expressing themselves. Be sure to give people time to complete their thoughts before you respond, and do not interrupt while they are talking. 

I enjoyed the story Mr. Carnegie shared in this chapter about how important effective listening is not just in the workforce, but also in the home:

Millie Esposito of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, made it her business to listen carefully when one of her children wanted to speak with her. One evening she was sitting in the kitchen with her son, Robert, and after a brief discussion of something that was on his mind, Robert said: "Mom, I know that you love me very much." 
Mrs. Esposito was very touched and said: "Of course I love you very much. Did you doubt it?"
Robert responded: "No, but I really know you love me because whenever I want to talk to you about something you stop whatever you are doing and listen to me."

"Those people who think only of themselves are hopelessly uneducated. They are not educated, no matter how instructed they may be." -Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, President of Columbia University

I personally don't think its a difficult concept to understand here. If I want people to not only respect me  and my person, but if I also want to experience success in my personal relationships and my professional career path, I need to apply this principle almost more than any other. LISTENING is an active ingredient in the recipe for success, happiness, friendships, income, etc. Because in fact, listening is an act of high power. It is an act of love, it is an act of… God. It is the ability to listen fully to someone else and their needs, interests, fears, concerns…. that we in turn gain the ability to improve and experience wealth, favor and success.

Principle 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. 

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