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  Chapter 32 from
It's Not As Tough As You Think
How to smooth out life's bumps.

By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski 


Other Available Chapters
2  3  14  45  47  75  79  92 


Silence Speaks in a Loud Voice

There is still more to say about effective communication. When you listen attentively to what the other person is saying, he is impressed with your interest and will take your response much more seriously. If you allow your thoughts to wander or start formulating your response while he is still talking, he will know you are not paying full attention to him, and he is likely to dismiss your response.

You might ask: How can the other person measure the degree of my attentiveness? He is not a mind reader, is he? No, one does not have to be a mind reader to gauge another person’s attitude. We probably communicate more nonverbally than we do with words. For example, if the person you are talking to is doing something that requires concentration while you are talking, like continuing to write while ostensibly listening to you, you know that he cannot possibly be giving you full attention. Furthermore, you feel that his attitude is that whatever you have to say is not important. The same thing can happen when you stop listening and begin formulating your response, or if you allow your mind to wander away from the subject. You cannot conceal your attitude, because we do not have full control of our body language, and your stance will give it away.

The Torah tells us to love others as we do ourselves. Suppose that the other person is complimenting you about something you did. When you hear yourself being praised, your mind will never wander, and you will not only be fully attentive, but will also savor every single word. Similarly, if what he is telling you is what you want to hear, you will be most attentive. It is when the other person is speaking about himself or about something that is important to him that you tend to become a bit bored. Cultivating greater consideration for others will make what is important to them be important to you as well, and you will become a good listener. You will also discover how attentive the other person becomes to what you have to say, and this is an excellent way to foster good relationships.

 
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