Listening is a skill that many people learn as one aspect of their training to become a psychotherapist. Some people already know how; many others, therapists and regular people, never quite get the importance of listening.
The answer to being a good listener is simple: Stop thinking about yourself. Stop wondering how you look, stop hoping you are smart, and stop thinking about your next comment. Get engaged in the conversation with the person speaking to you.
3 major points about listening
1. Listening is not a passive activity; it is active.
2. Listening is not the annoying pause between saying what you think and saying more about what you think.
3. Listening is as useful as talking (sometimes more so).
My new book, co-authored with Charlie Waehler, “What Do I Say? the Therapist’s Guide To Answering Client Questions is coming out in May, 2011.