Mental DietMental Diet

Mental Diet: The 14 Great Habits (11)

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“Speech is silver while silence is golden”


The habit of listening when masterfully cultivated sets you over the edge in successfully dealing with others.

Whenever you listen to someone, you communicate to the person that you value and respect him or her. The art of listening proves that you care enough to be impressed and interested in the other person.

The habit of listening makes you become people-focused rather than self-focused which builds strong relationships in business and in life.

The habit of listening opens you up to the world of knowledge which can save you from a wreck of failure and avoidable mistakes in life. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Every man I meet is in some way my superior and I can learn from him”.

Listening opens you up to the world of ideas. It builds loyalty in families, businesses, and relationships. People crave to be listened to because it gives them a sense of importance and value, and if you can satisfy this craving, they will pledge their loyalty to you.

The habit of listening is the key to effectiveness in every realm of human relationships. It heightens influence, it grows businesses, it bonds families, and it breeds relevance in leadership, the list could go on and on.


 Listening is the fine art of effective communication that penetrates the hearts and tears down walls. It is the wisdom needed in salesmanship.

The habit of listening involves the following:

  • The start-up of listening is giving the speaker your undivided attention; shut out every distraction around and within you so that you can open up your ears and mind to what the person has to say.

Keep your senses sensitive to what the person is saying; listen with your eyes and body up and lean forward for rapt attention to the speaker.

  • Do not interrupt your speaker- give the person the honor to express self until when done. Give absolute concentration to what the speaker is saying from his body language to the verbal expression-don’t allow your mind to wander off and don’t think of what you are going to say.
  • Stabilize your emotions when listening; do not filter what the person is saying through your past experiences.

Keep an open mind and an understanding heart; do not jump to conclusions; suspend your judgment long enough until the person finishes what he or she has to say.

  • Be an active listener – give your short comments at an opportune time on what you have heard, this will let the speaker know that your mind is focused on what is expressed to you.

You can paraphrase the speaker’s main idea when he or she is done and ask questions for optimum clarity and understanding.

The habit of listening could be summarized by the guidelines offered by Eric Allenbaugh:

  • Listen with a head-heart connection.
  • Listen with the intent of understanding.
  • Listen for the message and the message behind the message.
  • Listen for both content and feelings.
  • Listen with your eyes, your hearing will be improved.
  • Listen to others’ interests, not just their position.
  • Listen for what they are saying and not saying.
  • Listen with empathy and acceptance.
  • Listen for the areas where they are afraid and hurt.
  • Listen as you would like to be listened to.

“When I’m getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I’m going to say and two-thirds thinking about him and what he is going to say.”


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