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Not What You Hear

French impressionist painter Edgar Degas said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

The same idea also applies to listening. Listening is often what you make others hear themselves say.

When your friend shares something embarrassing or personal with you, does she hear the self-consciousness in her own voice, and feel less embarrassed as a result?

Forget Eye Contact

Sometimes we're encouraged to make eye contact when we're listening to someone. The idea being that it demonstrates a level of interest and engagement.

But making eye contact and other tips such as mirroring someone's body language do not tell the full story.

When to Listen?

Grease is added to gear wheels to facilitate movement and to prevent wear and tear.

Discussions are a little bit like gears in an engine.

Ideas are brought forth. Then our imaginations put them into motion as we ponder the consequences.

"We need resources to solve these problems."
"Money is tight. Can we reallocate funds or adjust our goals?"

In a good discussion, ideas mesh, propel each other, and move the enterprise forward.

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