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A Matter of Perspective

Things have been looking pretty bleak for humans lately.

I was in a Mastermind today and we were talking about all the scary things going on in the world from the stock market to not being able to run businesses because people are afraid to do anything but that which is essential.

COVID-19 still exists although it appears to be less of a factor than it was a year or two years ago.

One of the pieces of advice that was given by one of the participants who is a financial advisor was to not “commit financial suicide.”

But one of the best pieces of advice I believe I heard was this: to listen.

So many are in such a rush these days that we forget or just don’t take the time to listen.

After people have told us something, we are doing well if we remember one thing they told us.

Why is listening so hard to do and do well?

Humans have a lot on their minds. Too much, in my humble opinion.

We have too much on our proverbial “plates” and we can barely manage.

When one more thing gets added, we are overfilled and overwhelmed. Far too many of us are overfilled. Some of us can handle it but others reach the breaking point faster.

We have to be vigilant and concerned with our fellow humans. We have to learn to listen to each other.

According to an article on Corporate Finance Institute’s website, there are four key ways we can improve our listening skills. They are:

1. Face the speaker and give them your attention.

2. Keep an open mind.

3. Active listening—Active listening techniques:

• Paraphrasing back to the speaker what was said, to show understanding

• Nonverbal cues (nodding, eye contact, etc.)

• Verbal affirmations (“I understand,” “I know,” “Thank you,” etc.)

• Demonstrating concern and establishing rapport.

4. Just listen!

In a nutshell, it should look like this according to the article:

• Maintain eye contact and face the speaker to give them your attention.

• Don’t be judgmental while listening.

• Don’t interrupt the speaker.

• Employ active listening techniques.

• Think about what the other person is saying and not what you should respond with.

I will admit that listening is not always easy. We are distracted by our phones and so many other things that we can easily be pulled away from a conversation.

But after the meeting we had today it is more than clear that listening is key!

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