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Most of us have room for improvement in our listening techniques. I encourage you to practice the methods I've just described in your very next conversation. Like anything new, they won't feel natural until you've used them a lot. But do so, and you'll definitely be on your way to improving this aspect of your charisma. Meanwhile, here are some further ideas on ways to make active listening easier for you (来源:最老牌的英语学习网站 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

1. Listen-really listen-to one person for one day.

Choose one person you could relate to better. Commit to listening to them-not just hearing them-for one day. After each meeting, ask yourself Did I use the CARESS techniques Did I really make an effort to go beyond superficialities Did I observe verbal, vocal, and visual clues Did I note what was not being said as well as what was said

Once you've gotten into this habit of nudging yourself to listen better, extend this exercise to successive days, then to other acquaintances as well. Listening well is a gift you can give to others. It'll cost you nothing, but it may be invaluable to them.

2. Create a receptive listening environment.

Turn off the TV. Hold your calls. Put away your spread sheets and silence your computer. When listening, forget about clipping your nails, crocheting, solving crossword puzzles, or snapping your chewing gum. Instead, try to provide a private, quiet, comfortable setting where you sit side by side with others without distractions. If that's not possible, perhaps suggest a later meeting in a more neutral, quieter environment.

The point is to make your partner feel like you're there for him or her. Don't be like the boss who put a desk-sized model of a parking meter on his desk, then required employees to feed the meter-10 cents for every 10 minutes of conversation. What a signal he was sending out!

3. Don't talk when I'm interrupting.

If someone else is interrupting, avoid the temptation to reply in kind. It'll just raise the level of acrimony and widen the gulf between you. Instead, be the one who shows restraint by listening to them, then quietly, calmly, taking up where you left off.

If you're talking, you aren't learning, President Lyndon Johnson used to say. And by showing more courtesy than your adversary, you will be quietly sending a message as to how you both ought to be acting.

4. Don't overdo it.

Sometimes newcomers to the skill of listening can get carried away. They know they're supposed to have eye contact, so they'll stare so much the speaker will feel intimidated. Taught to nod their heads to show they're understanding, they'll start bobbing like sailboats on a rough sea. Having learned to project appropriate facial expressions while listening, they'll look as if they're suffering gastric distress.

Eventually, the speaker figures out that the other person recently attended a listening seminar or read a book on the subject. But it all comes across as artificial. All good things, including listening, require moderation and suitable application. Too much exaggerated listening is just as bad as, if not worse than, none at all.

5. Practice mind-mapping.

An excellent method for note taking is mind-mapping. This free-form technique helps you take notes quickly without breaking the flow of the conversation. Essentially, you use a rough diagram to connect primary pieces of information, then break it into appropriate subtopics or details.

It's extremely helpful and easy to use, and not at all like the old-fashioned Roman-numeral kind of outlining you probably learned in school. If you want to know more, I recommend an excellent book Tony Buzan's The Mind Map Book.

6. Be alert to your body language.

What you do with your eyes, face, hands, arms, legs, and posture sends out signals as to whether you are, or aren't, listening to and understanding what the other person is saying. For example, if you noticed someone you were talking to doing the following, what would you think

Glancing sideways

Sighing

Yawning

Frowning

Crossing arms on chest

Looking at the ceiling

Cleaning fingernails

Cracking knuckles

Jingling change or rattling keys

Fidgeting in chair

You'd very quickly get the impression-wouldn't you-that no matter what words come from this person's mouth, he or she actually has zero interest in what you're talking about and wishes you'd just go away. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, What you are is shouting so loud, I can't hear what you are saying. Conversely, consider these mannerisms

Looking into your eyes

Smiling frequently

Raising eyebrows periodically

Grinning at appropriate moments

Using expressive hand gestures when speaking

Keeping eyes wide open

Licking lips

Tilting head

Leaning toward you

This person shows interest in you and what you're saying. In addition, the active listener usually acknowledges the speaker verbally with such comments as I see, Uh-huh, Mmmm, or Really

 
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