Listening Exchange: To Really Just Listen

People only listen to you when you listen first.

I know we hate that idea.  We don’t think of “exchanging” communication like exchanging favors.  It doesn’t seem fair, because we expect to have a voice just by raising it with aggressive passion.  I do that all the time.

But people will naturally listen to you if you make an effort to hear them out.  No one wants to hear someone who is half-interested or in a hurry or talking their own faces off. 

Simply: if you’re not hearing others, don’t expect to be listened to.

This requires you to place yourself in their debt.  In their shoes.  Eye-to-eye, chair-to-chair, without wavering.

It means we have to earn respect.  To really care about their lives.  To invest an ear in their story.  To throw your heart into their struggle.  To roll up your sleeves in their mess.

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