The art of listening

Improving your listening skills takes practice
Author Fran Lebowitz famously said, “The opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.” This take might sound extreme, but it gets at an important point. Many of us don’t listen as well as we think we do. Being a good listener requires both intent and practice—and some patience with oneself. It takes time. If you’re easily distracted or sometimes interrupt others, you might be able to develop your listening skills. These habits, like anything else, can be improved with practice.There may be a simple reason we’re not better listeners. According to psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter, author of High Octane Women, and of the Psychology Today blog of the same name, “… we were all taught (hopefully) to listen to our parents and to listen in school. However, few of us were taught good listening—the active, disciplined kind of listening that helps us examine and challenge the information we hear in order to improve its quality and quantity, and thereby improve our decision-making.”

Some people are