Listening is so essential in marriages, between supervisors and supervisees, and between customer service reps and the market. Very often surveys point to the fact that people really fail to listen. What we need to do is spend more time listening. The way you do it is you listen to what people are saying to you and then you play back what they said, particularly when it is important. So somebody says something and you say, “Let me see if I understand what you are saying, what you are saying to me is… this or that.” When you play back to the person what you thought they said, particularly in the beginning of important conversations you are much more likely to get on track and people will get a lot less defensive.

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