Keep your attention on the speaker during conversations

Instructions

  1. Engage in conversation with someone
    Personal or professional, anywhere, anytime.
  2. Consider the speakers’ message, non-verbal cues, and motivations
    Concentrate on what they are saying and how they are saying it. How do they feel about this? What does it mean to them?
  3. Notice when your thoughts wander and return your attention to the speaker
    If your thoughts drift to last weekend or remembering to pick up milk on the way home, simply acknowledge these distractions, then return your attention to the speaker.          
  4. Double your efforts to listen rather than mentally preparing your response
    Use the time they are speaking to simply listen, not to mentally prepare your response. The more you think about the right thing to say, the more you miss, and the more likely it is that you’ll say the wrong thing.
  5. When it is time for you to respond pause if you need to gather your thoughts
    It’s okay to say, “I don’t know what to say,” or “I’d like to think about that.” If necessary, give yourself a couple of minutes to think and understand what the other person said before responding.

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