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5 Listening Skills of Extremely Successful People

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Listening Individuals

Do you ever walk away from a conversation feeling like you haven’t been heard, that the other person wasn’t really listening to you? If so, you’re not alone.

Most people believe that they rank high on listening skills. A study done at Wright State University surveyed more than 8000 people and a high percentage of them ranked themselves as being at least as good or better listeners than their co-workers.

You and I both know intuitively that this can’t be true. In fact, from my experience, I’d say that the majority of us could use a major tune up when it comes listening to others.The good news is that listening is a skill that can be taught, if you have the desire and discipline to practice.

Below are 5 listening skills that extremely successful people possess:

1. Make eye contact

Good eye contact demonstrates genuine interest in what the speaker is saying and shows that you really care. Think about how you feel when someone looks you straight in the eye while you’re talking vs. someone else whose eyes are wandering in a conversation—whether in the office, at a party, or with a friend or family member.

One action says: “I care and am listening to you.” The other action transmits the opposite message.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” – Stephen Covey

2. Ask only one question at a time

The first rule of thumb about asking questions is to ask NO questions until the speaker is finished with her thought. When there is a pause in the conversation, then feel free to ask one question, and one question only, that has relevance to what the individual was discussing.

If there are other questions you want to ask, you’ll need to put them on hold until there is another pause in the conversation. Continue to ask only one question at a time: This practice is also a good discipline in learning not to blurt out what is immediately on your mind.

3. Pay attention

This is no easy task in a culture like ours that prides itself on multi-tasking. Paying attention when someone else is speaking is a learned behavior for most of us. When you find your mind wandering, take a deep breath, then gently tell yourself to re-focus on what the speaker is saying.

Initially, you may find your mind wandering several times throughout a conversation. But if you are vigilant about gently pulling it back to listening to the individual speaking, you will experience significant improvements.

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” ― Mary Oliver

4. Do not make assumptions

For a lot of us, it’s second nature to interrupt and make assumptions about what the speaker is saying based on our own experiences and feelings. By doing this, you’re certainly not listening to the other person. You’re inside your own head responding to how you would have felt or reacted.

It’s critical to catch your inner voice when you hear it saying phrases like, “She must have been furious”, “I don’t understand how she could have done that!”, “Wow, I bet she’s really happy!”, or “I know exactly how she feels!”

Rather than making assumptions, when the person is finished speaking, repeat back to them what you heard them say and ask them if you understood correctly. Also, if confused or curious, feel free to ask them to explain their thoughts in more detail so that you can better understand them.

5. Do not talk

Unless you’re asking a question (when there is a pause) or showing that you understand with the use of a few words that will encourage the speaker to continue with their thoughts, keep your mouth shut.

So many of us think that by offering words of advice or solutions to a problem that we are being helpful. But the truth is quite the contrary. We immediately shut the other person down and don’t give them the opportunity to continue with their thoughts.

Several years ago I was with a friend at a very important business meeting. While we were talking prior to the meeting, he said to me: “Frannie, you talk too much. You need to listen more.” The words stung but his words proved to be some of the best advice that anyone has ever given me. They motivate me to spend time reading about and learning how to significantly improve my listening skills. Or as my dear father used to say: “So much not to know. You’ll always learn more from listening than from talking.”

What skill do you need to get better at when listening? Please leave your thoughts below!

Fran Sorin is a creativity and gardening expert and the author of the highly acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening. Fran is also a coach, inspirational speaker, and CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post contributor. She has spent the past 30 years researching and working with herself and clients on how to live more creatively. Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening is available at Barnes and Noble stores, Amazon, and other online and neighborhood booksellers. Sign up for Fran’s Newsletter to receive her “Fran’s 5x30 Creativity Formula: How to Increase Your Creativity Dramatically” and to gain access to her FREE 1000 Digging Deep Book and 3 part Online Course (value: $169) Giveaway is now live on her website.

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How Your Friends Determine Whether You Succeed or Not

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Can anyone do without having friends? We all have our friends, we share ideas with them, talk together, have fun, and fight. Yes, that’s the baseline of friendship. But, do you know that aside from you, your friends can determine whether you achieve success or not?

There are two things in friendship which are the ability to ”love” and the ability to “influence”. This means you are loved and you are influenced. How do your friends affect your success in life? How are they one of the biggest deciding factors of your success? Let’s find out.

What type of friends do you keep? 

First, what type of friends do you keep? Who do you call your best friend? There are two different kinds of friends, good friends, and bad ones. A lot of people have lost their pathway to success and some have also found their road to success all because of the friends they keep, the people they mingle with. 

Who is your best friend? Answer carefully. Having a best friend means you find each other compatible and understanding. Analyze who your best friend is. If your best friend has not motivated you to do something positive, if who you call your bestie has never given you positive advice, lastly if your best friend has never informed and advised you on your shortcomings, then you don’t have a best friend.

This quote tells us “birds of the same feather flock together”. Countless people have changed from their good nature into a bad one all because of friends. One thing to note is, “negative people move with negative aura”. If your best friend is filled with negativity inside-out then you will surely be affected by his/her negative aura.

They influence your success with positivity or negativity 

The friends you keep can either influence you with positivity or negativity because your friends have the power to change your kind of person completely. 

This is how your friends influence you:

  1. They influence you indirectly with what they do
  2. They influence you directly by teaching and giving you advice 

Yes, that is how they influence you. For instance, you watch a movie and you like the way the actor walks. The question is if you truly like the way the actor walks, won’t you try to imitate the actor? Of course, you will.

Just the way you imitate the actor is the same way your friends can influence you with their character. However, the funny part is, they don’t have to teach you to do things like them. You just find yourself imitating and copying them gradually.

An important question to ask is, are you imitating a good friend or a bad one? If you imitate a good friend then you will be good, but if you imitate a bad person, you will surely become a bad person.

Everyone wants to succeed, a good friend will always teach, enlighten, and motivate you for success. A bad friend will only motivate you to do evil things (smoking, drinking, fight, envy,).

And you should know that things like that are a great enemy of success and even of God. So, if you have these bad elements in your life, how will you achieve success? There is no way!

And also, they can teach and advise you directly. But, what do your friends teach you? When you ask them for advice do they inspire you positively or teach you the bad stuff.? A lot of people have regretted lifelong decisions just by listening to the advice of friends. 

The company you keep has the power to influence and change you. Never forget that a positive influence will teach, motivate, and brush you up for success. While a negative influence will inspire you to become a bad person, change your good nature, and leave you with regrets in the end.

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The 3 Step Process to Building a Profitable Pitch

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As a communication coach, one of the top questions entrepreneurs ask me is how to deliver a winning pitch to potential investors. They want to know if there’s a magic formula to get an investor to say yes and buy into their dream and their business. (more…)

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The 4 Pillars of Wealth and Abundance

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Have you ever wondered what the formula for a wealthy and abundant life is? Many people have. Lots has been written about the subject of wealth creation and living an abundant life. It was a breaking point in my journey and pursuit of success when I found out that there is a clear path to achieve success in life. Thanks to those who have shared their journey, we can clearly see and follow the principles of prosperity. (more…)

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Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show

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why you should have a podcast
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Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.

What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.

1. Perceived Expertise

When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.

They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.

2. Global Acknowledgement

One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.

The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Backed By Numbers

One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.

The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

4. Effective Communication

While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.

Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!

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