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This means that when you are meeting someone you can shake their hand or participate in whatever greeting is appropriate to the occasion and then keep that person to your right as you maintain eye contact with them. Allow yourselves to be seated so that your right eyes are opposite of each other. This may just give you both a slightly more comfortable feeling than you would have in a different setting.

The results do not prove the causality but the evidence is strong. This leads me to believe that your best first impression comes when the other person is seated to your right! What if the other person is left-handed? Mirroring There you are. You are seated across from each other. The right eyes line up. We all tend to like people who are like ourselves. From a physiological perspective this means that the best impression you can make on another person is probably to emulate their physiology, their posture and even some of their non-verbal mannerisms.

When you are in that first contact situation you can easily notice how the other person is seated and then model their physiology. This is done by adopting 13 a similar body posture and seeing to it that your hand and leg positions are similar. In other words, simply sit as if they were looking in a mirror and seeing themselves. You will find this easy to. When people begin to use similar gestures and experience similar facial responses they tend to synchronize in other ways that are almost magical.

This mirroring can lead to rapport being developed more quickly and sometimes instantly. Leading It can be very useful in communication to know if your belief that you are synchronized with another person is correct. One strategy that you can use is to briefly stop mirroring the person you are with and do something different.

Take a drink from a glass of water, move forward, smile, etc. See if they move out of the position that they were in. If they do you probably are synchronized with the other person and are, indeed, in rapport. You simply want to know if they move in some way.

If not, continue pacing mirroring until they will accept your lead into a different physiology. The nonverbal dance of pacing and leading is one that will come with practice and when you have become more comfortable in first contact situations. Nonverbal communication will be discussed in greater detail later in the book! Have you noticed that people speak at different rates?

Do you feel comfortable with people who speak at a very different rate than yourself? Imagine for just a moment that two people are having dinner and one of them is speaking at a mile a minute. Words flow from their mouth like water from a fire hydrant. The other person, on the other hand, speaks as if there is a tightly woven coffee filter in their mouth, slowing the pace of their communication down to a virtual stand still. These two people are not likely to build rapport with each other.

They process and articulate information in a different fashion from each other. It is generally easier for people who normally speak quickly to slow down than it is for people who speak slowly to speak more quickly. People who speak quickly normally perceive slower communicators to be dull and boring on the negative side and gentle and caring on the positive side. The fast paced communicator often becomes impatient with the pace of the slower communicator. People who speak slowly consider those who speak quickly to be aggressive and often rude on the negative side.

Positive attributes ascribed to the fast paced communicator include intelligence and quick thinkers. Each of these speeds will change throughout a conversation depending upon the content of the conversation. People who speak quickly are generally visually oriented and speak as quickly as they see the pictures in their minds. Medium paced communicators seem to be very auditory in nature. In other words they tend to speak in such a manner that points to the quality of the words they say. They may hear their own voice more clearly than other people.

They may have a greater awareness of the affect their voice has on other people. Finally, the emotional communicator is the person who tends to speak more slowly. They seem to sort their thoughts through their emotions. They might be more sensitive to people and therefore careful about what they say. As was noted earlier, it is easier to slow down in communication than it is to speed up! This increases rapport and makes everything that happens for the rest of the meeting more likely to succeed. How can you increase your pacing if you are an emotional communicator? As we noted earlier, increasing your pace is more difficult than reducing your pace!

It is difficult but do-able. Begin practicing by reading a page from a book at your regular pace. Count how many words per minute you speak. Now, read the page again into a tape recorder and be certain to articulate all the words clearly as you speak more quickly. Do it again and see if you can talk just a little more quickly, maybe adding 20 words per minute. The idea is not to race through the page but to learn how to communicate more quickly. They will perceive you as more credible if you can speak at their level, or at least a bit more swiftly.

They droned on forever without ever coming to the point…or any point.

Active Listening: Barriers of Effective Communication

Now, is it possible that this person was once you? By making your stories shorter you give the listener the opportunity to have you elaborate on what you have just shared with them. People who tell long stories while the rest of the group experiences eyeglaze are never perceived as attractive and are avoided. This simple exercise, done regularly, makes you instantly more attractive!

What do I talk about? That really IS good news. You can explore every avenue and have a lifetime of stories behind every door. The opportunities are fraught with risks of course. You could easily open a door for which the information you receive will be uncomfortable for one or both of you. That can be a good thing. Most everyone has a job. Research has shown that self-esteem is directly correlated to job satisfaction.

If your first contact partner appears to have great self esteem this is a great place to go. However, do most people like their jobs? You can ask about their family but are most people happy with the relationships in their family? Maybe, but families and the events that happen within a family are a leading cause of distress to most people. Therefore I like to direct the conversation just a bit. Talking about the future can be nice but there are problems with the future too. What if you find out a person is 45 years old and has decided that they have just spent 20 years in the wrong career.

The future may look more like the past. I avoid the future until a little later. There are some directions that you can go that are almost failsafe however. How do you like this? If money were no object, how would you like to spend your days off? It also seems to me that most people would like talking about something that they can do if money is no object. I also learn a great deal about a person if I know what they would do with their time off. It tells me about what is really important to them in their life.

Being Vulnerable, Not Unbearable 20 What is the right mix of conversation? How do you know what to talk about, what not to talk about, and how much? What kind of conversation is most likely to enhance your level of charisma and bring out your best you? People want to discover what the person they are interested in communicating with is really like inside? Leave negativity behind at your first meeting with someone and save it for later. Self-disclosure means that you are going to share some of who you are with another person.

Being vulnerable means that you can share a weakness or two but not necessarily weaknesses that are perceived as negative. You can be a bit self-effacing when communicating with your new friend or associate. This selfdisclosure makes your communication more real. First contact partners generally perceive this experience as positive. How might this conversation take place if I was speaking to a first contact partner? Nice to meet you. This is a very nice place. Have you ever been here?

A couple of times. When you go out, where do you like to go? Restaurants, movies, entertainment… FCP: Hmmm…I guess I like just about everything…I like to go to movies…I like to dance and I like to take walks around the lake. What have you seen lately that you liked at the movies? I thought the new Harry Potter movie was great. Did you see that? No, I heard it was great. Without giving the ending away, what was it about? It had the same kids and cast as the first one. The movie followed the book pretty closely and was really pretty magical.

Thumbs up or down? Definitely a thumbs up. What other movie have you seen lately that you thought was great? The new Star Trek movie. I thought it was great. Would you like to order now? Not yet, can we have just a couple of minutes? Some of the dishes are excellent.

What kind of food you like? I like just about everything. I was raised in a family that ate a very Jewish-like diet. Some of my friends say I missed the boat. If you do, you might want to…. And so it goes. The first contact partner and I are rolling right along. I disclose a little bit about myself and that will encourage the first contact partner to feel more open to disclose more about herself later on.

There are numerous ways to deal with first contact. Wherever the other person leads you is where you 23 want to go with conversation. Remember, everything is new in first contact so you have a wealth of life experiences to go to. The key is keep it positive. What might a conversation be like that is not so effective in building rapport? The food is great. Ask them their preferences instead! No, just a conservative church. They eat a Jewish diet, pretty much. Hey, did you see Lord of the Rings?!

I thought it was gross. Time to skip this Kevin and go somewhere else. Well sure, that was part of the point right. It was in part a war movie. Yeah that was a good show too. Then you learn something about her band what she likes! Are these two people in sync? The reason is that neither of them is eliciting preferences of the other person.

Instead they are making statements about their personal experience without thought of how the other person might feel about them. The differences are subtle but make all the difference in the world in the rapport building process. This conversation is uncomfortable and going nowhere.

Can't Get Through: Eight Barriers to Communication

What follows are common mistakes people make in communicating, followed by the better way to express the thought, maximizing your irresistibility. That makes me feel really special. Thanks for making me just one of the many, instead of making first contact something special. They are out there but only at the car rallies. I really like it. If the earth quakes and he happens to ask about former times and loves, touch on them and leave the subject.

These are areas you should leave alone in first contact. Your eyes should be focused from the neck up. Leave the rest for another day. Then share your interests. All of these simple but important changes in the way we communicate make us appear to be fascinating because we are focusing on the other person first. We can talk about our interests later. Learn what you can about the person you are with. You can detail why Tina Turner is your favorite female entertainer at a later date. Find out what 27 they like and you can make your second meeting custom made especially for your first contact partner.

You can and you must participate in mutual self-disclosure so your first contact partner can learn about you as well. If you are too mysterious then they will ultimately lose interest in you. Most people are too talkative. Once on a roll people tend to disclose far too much, far too quickly. The best policy is to always put your attention on the other person, their interests, likes and dislikes. When you are asked about your specific likes and dislikes you should always be frank and upfront.

People will find you more interesting to talk with! When you are in a position of disclosure you should focus toward the positive. She may ask whether you like your job. You probably hate your job. You can be just a bit evasive, a bit optimistic and put your best foot forward. Here are some examples. Your first contact partner asks you the following questions.

Your first response right below the question is of course true but bluntly honest. In the second response you are honest, optimistic and put everything into a positive light. I have learned so much about the structure of companies. I can see myself there for three more years or maybe even finding something that would be even more fun and exciting. Who did you just insult that is related to her? I like a lot about several of the candidates. You know what I mean? Deadly question if the two of you disagree. That is a really hard question to answer. I think I would do whatever it would take to not answer the question.

At least not tonight. Unfortunately, in every case noted on the previous pages, that would have potentially polarized you from your first contact partner. They may think that it is completely reasonable to ask each of these questions, but few people think about what happens if you completely disagree on something that is significant to them. Therefore, you need to be aware that a positive and optimistic response that allows for eventual and not immediate disclosure can be very wise. This is particularly true in discussing your current job.

No one wants to hear that a person especially a man hates his job. It indicates general instability. Instability is not a bad word. The time to disclose all feelings about a job is probably not at first contact. You never have to lie about your true feelings and in fact, you should never lie, but this is a good time to find something positive to say and put a good light on something you have negative feelings about.

There is so much you can do to make your first and second impressions a success. Doing so primes the pump for further success in communication. Underestimating the power of the first and second contact with someone is a big mistake. You already have figured out that everything that is important in the first and second impression is important in all of your communications.

Next up you learn how to share the threads of your life with those you want to talk to! Some longer conversations include two dozen or more stories! Our stories are important to us and we want them to be important to others. Everything you have become today is part of your life story, the sum of all of your stories about your life. It means the world to you when people are fascinated by your stories. Remember when the little Texas girl, Jessica McClure fell in the well and got trapped? It took three days to get her out. Would she live or die? Could the rescuers get her in time?

Each year millions of people die and experience incredible events. The story of Jessica was a great story and it unfolded right before our eyes. They sell news shows because people are engaged by the drama. Each of us has at least one human interest story to tell about ourselves. A time when you survived something dramatic. You overcame an 33 illness. You persisted until you succeeded. You helped someone in great need and someone found out about it and told someone else who told the news and then you made the news. All of these are great stories.

Telling stories well…and listening to them with fascination are two important factors in maintaining good communication. There are 10 ways to flub a story. Being boring centers around being focused on yourself. Even when telling stories you must be paying attention to the person who is listening to you. How you tell your stories and how you position yourself in your stories will determine just how interested the other person will be.

If you are in an everyday conversation, you probably have less than one minute to tell your story. I remember when my sister was a pre-teen she would come home from the movies and virtually recite all the lines of the movie line for line, scene for scene.

My eyes would glaze over by the time she got past the opening credits. I loved my sister. Over the years she learned to tell the readers digest condensed version. Today she is an executive with Johnson and Johnson. People have very short attention spans. Most companies pitch their products in thirty second commercials on television.

Our attention spans are so short that USA Today seems to be filled with articles that are far too detailed for a lot of people. The message needs to be delivered quickly and concisely in print and in everyday conversation. One of the greatest problems people have when telling a story is speaking far too slowly. Think of the people who are enjoyable to listen to. Moderate to fast paced. Yes, there is an exception to every rule, but here is the rule: Speak a little more quickly and you have a better chance of having your story heard and enjoyed.

They think you have a universal translator that translates all languages including garbled English. Remember that millions of people are hard of hearing and they have little chance of hearing the average woman who speak at frequencies much higher than men speak at all.

When you speak, look at the person you are talking to. Speak loud enough so they can hear you. All of this may seem obvious but having observed thousands of people communicate, I promise you that this one mistake causes big problems in relationships…problems that could easily be avoided. Tell it with enthusiasm, zeal and intensity. Exaggeration is an invitation for people to not listen or care.

I mean who is she kidding. I just wonder what makes some people tick. It should have been. Is their body language telling you they are interested or impatient for the end? Are their lips moving, ready to jump in on your story or are they listening with awe. Later in the book we will discuss body language in depth. Not learning to understand the body language of other people is one of the mistakes we make in communication.

It was a wannabee hotel. It just has everything and they take care of you like you are royalty there. Instead of teasing out the rest of the story from our friend, we immediately jump in with a story of our own. They are telling you about their adventure to the audit at the IRS office. What are you nuts? You have to report all of your income.

I was just trying to help. So big that it took all the fun and excitement out of sharing the story. The appropriate response would have been to listen with fascination and a sense of curiosity, saving all questions and comments for much, much later. I was there every day at dawn and stayed til the Sun went down. I built the company and once they had employees there was no appreciation at all. They down sized me. I literally designed almost every major piece that we produced and when it came time for them to decide who to let go, it was me.

They never would have gone public without me. They never would have met their payroll without me. There are so many effective ways to bolster your reputation and communication credentials when talking to people that you never need to overstate your contribution to a relationship, a project, a business, a deal, or anything.

Before you begin speaking, over-ride the compulsion to blurt out your story.

What is the intention of your story? Why are you going to tell this story? Will anyone who listens to this story be hurt by what you say? Trent Lott, A Mississippi Republican got himself stuck in a public relations nightmare and gave up the dream of a lifetime in December of Destined to become the House Majority Leader in January of , he made a critical mistake that everyone should be attentive to and learn from. The drama of misunderstood words caused even the President of The United States to distance himself from Lott.

Speaking for the President, Ari Fleischer said after one speech that Bush that was not calling for Lott to step aside as leader or as senator. Lott needs to resign,'' Flesicher said. Thurmond, the South Carolina Republican who ran as a thirdparty candidate for president in as a segregationist had changed his views over the ensuing 50 years of public service. But the comments by Lott made it appear that Lott was still in favor of them.

In most blacks in many southern U. Shortly after the speech, Lott called Bush, and his office issued a statement saying the president was right. We're proud of it. The Congressional Black Caucus called for a formal censure of Lott, saying anything less would be seen as approval of his remarks by Bush, Congress and the Republican party. In Mississippi, civil rights officials said his apology was insufficient, and accused him of having enduring ties to groups that are believed to have racist views. A few misunderstood words caused Lott his reputation and drove many of those closest to him to leave his side.

When telling your stories, think about how they will be received by your listeners…and the people your listeners will talk to. In a conversation with friends, business colleagues and the like you will often hear them say something which frustrates you. Because you really want to know what the person means and feels you must learn to tease out the intention. Did they mean what you thought they just said? Did they mean what you heard? What a stupid thought. I meant that I really admire Thurmond. The most important element in a story is that it tells who you are. Without knowing this, the listener is not interested in passing you the time of day.

The other way allows you to tell your story about specific incidents that happened and the difference can be that of captivation and fascination or boredom. Make It Known that You are Human When you tell a story you must be certain that you highlight your weaknesses. There are many kinds of weaknesses. Most can be highlighted in a self deprecating or fun way and your listener will like you all the more if you point them out. Your Story should Inspire Tell someone how great you are and they will dismiss you.

Tell your story as a human who was driven to accomplish something in spite of your frailties and you will find yourself having an audience chomping at the bit to hear more from you. Everyone has a story tell. In fact, we all have a bag full of stories to share. I am going to show you how to identify the ways you can overcome the common mistakes people make when story telling. Next, I want to share with you three of my stories woven together and I want you to learn some things about me. Here are my goals my intention with telling the next three stories: I was the oldest of five children and we had no money.

If I wanted to have money for anything and I did I would have to sell something. I sold my services in the winter-time as the kid on the street who would shovel your driveway. I hated pulling weeds. Realizing that there was no hope for me in the lawn and garden services, I knew at age 10 I would have to do something where I could utilize my time in a far more efficient manner.

I read that I could earn from fifty cents to two dollars for each box of cards sold. In return Cheerful House sent me five boxes of Christmas cards. I got home from school the next day and as soon as my paper route was done I was ready to go make some real money! I knocked on my neighbors door.

I showed her my cards and she bought a box. My first dollar was earned! Then I went to Mrs. Hendricks bought two boxes, Mrs. Serdar bought a box. Makela bought a box. I was gone until 8: I looked at my watch as the sun was setting. I knew I had to go home and help put the kids to bed. You earned it, you are going to keep it. The next day I left the neighborhood to start selling in a neighborhood I never went to. I was out from the time my paper route was done until sunset. I sold only four boxes of cards.

I showed Mom when I got home and she told me that it was mine to keep. I went into neighborhoods I had never been to and knocked on over doors that day. I sold 6 boxes of cards. I got home to find that there was no Hamburger Helper left. I was eternally grateful. She would later tell me she was scared to death that her son was going into some of the neighborhoods! We totaled the order sheet. I had sold 28 boxes of cards. I would get paid after I delivered all of the cards to my clients.

I learned a lot that week. I learned that selling cards was a lot better than cutting the lawn, pulling weeds, shoveling the snow or delivering the newspaper. I learned I could only work four weeks per year selling cards. I sold greeting cards for the next four years as a source of income.

8 Barriers to communication

I sold flower seeds and vegetable seeds. I also continued to sell my body shoveling snow, pulling weeds, cutting lawns, and doing anything I could. The most fun was selling cards though. The women were for the most part fun to talk with, the work was all sitting down in their living room and some of them even gave me cookies and milk those few days per year when I was selling. I was actually having fun working at something. The ad from Cheerful House Greeting Cards changed my life.

Not because it made me rich. It gave me hope that I could escape living in poverty. The Boy Scouts delivered clothing and food to our home on Thanksgiving on a couple of occasions. I remember appreciating the clothes and food…and hating being needy. I knew whatever I was going to do when I was older, it would be selling. I discovered as a 10 year old that the ability to think quickly and talk with people could give me a chance to escape being poor and maybe…just maybe…be rich. Selling was hard work in some ways, but it was fun. It was something I could do well. Autumn I had been earning a six figure income for a few years.

The idea of receiving an hourly wage and punching a time clock is almost a phobia.

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I have several books in print including one, The Psychology of Persuasion, that is doing pretty darned well in the bookstores…But… I stalled. No one was offering me more than that. Now, what more could a guy want? I have no time to take a full day off and learn what I already know regardless of who it is with.

But for years I have been wanting to meet Dottie.

Can't Get Through: 8 Barriers to Communication by Kevin Hogan

She would now be about 70 or maybe older…and it was her book, Speak and 53 Grow Rich that helped me focus my world into teaching and speaking in public for a significant portion of my current living. I decided to take the Saturday off and go see Dottie. If nothing else, I should thank her for being inspirational in my life! I experienced her class with about 20 other students. I enjoyed watching the woman speak for 5 hours.

She was able to keep the group enthralled with stories she had no doubt told for decades. I was in love. Not to mention watching her do back of the room sales was inspiring! I want you to know you have been an inspiration in my career. The last person wants to keep you forever. Kevin, her brain is fading. Either ask or get the hell out of here. She has a 54 date with a hotel pillow and you are being as charming as a bottle of mental Drano. What do you suggest? Successful author towers over sweet woman asking the dumbest question on the face of the earth.

Thank God no one would ever know about this moment. Early Winter I have a sore throat and a terrible cold. CNBC is on in the background. Hogan has actually left the building for dead. What are you charging nowadays. You spent the last month finishing, Talk Your Way to the Top.

The book is at Pelican. What are you going to tell this guy? Your voice sounds like hell. Just ask honey…just ask. An hour of massive entertainment combined with an hour of data all happening simultaneously. My head is foggy from this flu. Check received in 6 business days. That was the last time I doubted that still small sweet voice in my head. Dottie is with me always… Have you ever suffered from low self-esteem? Through the stories in this chapter you I was able to teach you about my dedication to my family when I was a child.

You learned that I cared about my family. You learned that I wanted to take care of them. Through the stories in this chapter you learned my exact process of finally asking to be paid what I am worth. You saw my struggle with my own self esteem and discovered that you are a lot like me. If I can do it you can do it. That message was critical to get through from my conscious mind to your unconscious mind. You now know that I have been successful in the field of influence and are therefore more likely to accept what I tell you as factual and therefore you are more likely to act upon those messages.


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I have disclosed personal weaknesses to you so you know that I am not a superman…nor do I think I am. If you want people to like you and respect you, you must let them know that you are not arrogant. You are just like they are. We hear things around us everyday and call this sound. Sound, auditory stimulus , whether by music, Mother Nature, everyday speech or the words of a loved one, is a wonderful thing. But that is not what this chapter is about at all. Consider for just a moment the magic of listening.

See a Problem?

I want to talk with you about the way we sometimes forget to listen and begin to only hear people instead. But maybe we should. True listening is a magnetic and strangely elusive force sometimes, a creature that begs to be acknowledged. Just for a moment, think about the people in your past that you have been attracted to or who have made an important impact on you. You know, the people in your life that have made a difference and helped develop who you are right now.

People that found it unnecessary to entertain you with tall tales of their life experiences, offering you insights i. Instead, these people gave you one small gift, maybe one that seemed insignificant at the time yet it was a enormously precious gift. They gave you their time and their ability to listen without judgment.

We have all known people who when we begin to talk to them seem distracted, or way too eager to share their version of your story. You know the ones I mean. They have their own filters of what you are saying and anticipate everything that is about to come out of your mouth, whether they have guessed right or wrong. Often, as this happens, the narrator quits in frustration and clams up, retreating inward and the mood of the interaction between the two parties is endangered. Have you been on vacation?

What did you two end up doing? But then that night we.. We just had a good time and came home. They make us feel good, comfortable and secure. We can tell them our thoughts, dreams, hopes.


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  • Share our tears and shed the cloak of our fears, all without fear of criticism, judgment or competition. When someone listens to us, it helps to create US; makes US unfold and expand ourselves. Our ideas have a place to be planted, germinate, grow within us and come to life. When someone pays attention, really listening to us instead of just hearing us, listening without being judgmental, it allows and encourages us to 62 share our innermost thoughts, feelings that we normally would be afraid to speak because we are afraid of our words being misinterpreted or ridiculed. Help someone create themselves by listening to them Have you ever noticed if a person laughs at your jokes you want to become funnier, enjoying the acceptance and begin striving for more attention?

    Putting your own meaning on their thoughts. We all are guilty of this at times. But there are many benefits to being a good listener. It makes people happy to be listened to. Listening is the golden key; it unlocks the secret treasure box of having a good time in society because everyone around you suddenly becomes lively and interesting. A good listener is often perceived as a brilliant conversationalist. Notice and ask yourself - who do you go to for advice? Probably not to the hard, critical, practical people who tend to tell you exactly what to do; but to the listeners the kindest, non-censoring, non-judgmental people you know.

    We can all be our own best advisors if we have someone that is willing to give us a neutral sounding board to express our views and make our own decisions about what to do with them. I was listening to him tell me about how some of the older kids were picking on him in school. He had told his parents, his teachers, even the principle; but no one had believed his story. Then, in his very young but wise way, he gave me some very valuable advice about listening.

    Use your two ears and listen twice as much as you speak. Or had that best date ever with the man or woman of your dreams? You shared your dreams, hopes and plans with each other. You made them feel like they were the only one that mattered in the entire world, and they made you feel 65 that way too. That night seemed to last forever. Then somewhere in the relationship, you might have quit listening. You began to hear instead of listen to one another.

    Then you might have added two and two together, came out with three and figured that the magic of the relationship was lost. Nope, you simply quit listening. In this wide, wide world there are truly brilliant people who can speak for hours, waxing eloquent on poetry, literary works, art and who are truly fascinating orators. They can talk; give lectures, speeches, captivating us by expressing their heartfelt emotions. They can bring a tear to our eyes and entertain us for hours with their witty conversation. Yet some of these same people can also bore us to tears and leave us feeling exhausted, as if we have just ran a mile marathon.

    Because they never listen. But why does this failure to listen exhaust us? It is this spark, our spirit, this fire, 66 this waterfall within us all that drives us, which makes us whole. This constant, ever changing flow of energy is what makes us, US. We have no solitude into which we can retreat to.

    We get too busy, talk to too many people during the course of our day, overextend ourselves so that our waterfall of energy gets dirty and dim, covered with the slime, mud, sticks, stones and garbage of life. The result is that we stop living from the inside, from that waterfall of energy within us and start living life from the outside, the external.

    We stop listening and begin hearing. We plod along, day to day, going through the motions of life without truly living. Maybe that is why when someone has truly listened to you, really been INSIDE you, listened with fascinated rapt attention, made YOU feel like you were the most important person on earth to them, you feel better, lighter, more at peace with everything around you. Listen without judgment or advice. Allow the person talking to show their soul to you. Treat them like they were the most important person on earth.

    Now is their time to shine in the light, to take center stage and to be the star attraction. They may be a little taken back and unsure at first that it is possible to trust you not to interrupt, to not try and show them up or judge them, because very few people, if anyone in their lives have ever taken the time to listen. After all, listening IS a forgotten, fine art. So become a great artist. Grab your brush and start practicing the art of listening instead of simply hearing. Keep practicing and when you think you have it down to a science, go practice some more.

    Now…go paint your masterpiece. Are you constantly offering your opposing opinion when it is not asked for? Do you find yourself saying the word "but" often in your conversation with others? You may be an argumentative talker. There is an effective way to take an opposing view, but it may destroy rapport. There is a way to give your opinion, but it may be received as unwanted advice. When you continue to oppose the comments of your listener, you run the risk of making them feel wrong, stupid, or uninformed.

    Men and women seem to view communication differences in different ways. I often notice that men will say, "we had a debate" or "an intense conversation" and women will indicate that they had "a fight" or an "argument. I have a confession to make. Debate generally can be described as a structured discussion where individuals cite evidence about an issue in an attempt to persuade another person. Debate 69 is an intellectual process where it is OK and preferable to be "right. What's the difference then between debate and an argument? In debate we cite evidence with the intent to validate our point of view.

    Debate is all about intellectual conflict where people Try and persuade each other who is right and who has the best evidence. In arguments we cite evidence, make claims about the negative intention of the other person's behavior, and become very emotional to the point where apologies will be in order after the communication is finished because one or both parties will have their feelings hurt.

    In an argument the individual feels attacked. When the attack is perceived as hostile, with intention to harm, I call this a "fight. One person may be simply debating or discussing a subject intellectually with no intent to harm. The other person may perceive such communication as intending to harm them and they feel as if they are in a fight with a need to defend themselves instead of their point of view!

    Sometimes it takes quite a long time for the person who is debating to come to the discovery and conclusion that the other person is upset and fighting. Therefore it is vital to ask if it's "OK to have this conversation" or at least smile. It's also important to keep sarcasm out of discussions and debates if it isn't obvious to the other person that you are having fun with them The argumentative communicator needs to be right. They want to defeat their opponent as if the dining room or boardroom is a courtroom where only one person can "win.

    This doesn't mean to stop disagreeing or intellectually pursuing what is good and right. It is very important to make sure those we have discussions with do not feel attacked. Kevin Hogan holds a Psy. His expertise in the field of human influence has made him a sought-after speaker and teacher worldwide. He is the author of Selling Yourself to Others: Secrets of Self-Hypnosis, all available from Pelican.

    Eight Barriers to Communication. About the Authors As a practicing certified clinical hypnotherapist and instructor, Ron Stubbs has helped clients of various ages with a wide range of problems, including fibromyalgia, depression, and abuse issues. He is a nationally recognized public speaker and corporate trainer.