It's a simple that doesn't get a lot of attention.

On T.V. they compete to see who can be seen and heard the most.

Same thing on the playground.

And in the meeting room.

And in the Friday night watering hole.

And in Congress.

And in the P.T.A. meeting.

Guess what they're all doing...they're competing for YOUR attention.

Who's attention are YOU competing for?


No, don't just listen...listen like you mean it.

You can't just make a show of have to be interested in what's being said. And you have to be interested in the person who's saying it.

Carl Rogers called this "active listening."

John Milton Fogg calls this "creative listening."

Larry Hochman calls this "validative listening."

Back when I was getting my masters degree in counseling and practicing therapy, when we were stuck on what to do next, we would always come back to listening. If we didn't know where to take the counseling session, we would always restate the last thing the client just said.

It usually opened up the door to something good.

Two things happened...the client felt challenged (in a good way), because they heard their own thoughts reflected back to them, and they could see themselves as others saw them.

The second thing...more importantly, is that if someone is hearing what they said...accurately...they experience a sense of validation...that they count, that someone cares about what they have to say.

Do you know how POWERFUL that is?

I've trained a number of graduate students throughout the years as interns in counseling. The first thing many will do is try to have a "break-through" with a client...find the missing link in their past so that...SHAZAM... they're "cured."

That's for the student's ego, not for the client.

(I've done that one too.)

If you're good enough to listen to, you're good enough to matter.

If you matter, you try to be someone worth listening to.

Little kids don't want toys. They want to be listened to.

Spouses don't want toys. They want to be listened to.

O.K. they both want toys also. Spouses also want you to clean the gutters on the roof and put the toilet seat down.

But you can make up for a lot of mistakes by listening.

And if you REALLY listen, you're less likely to repeat the mistatkes.

Listening requires your full attention.

But if you give it, you become irresistible.

If two or more people are competing for my attention, one is quiet and centered...and the others are gyrating around like a spinning top, with all kinds of loud, objectionable noises...

...intially I might pay attention to the spinning tops (in the same way one can't help but look at a car accident.)

But my attention will always come back to the quiet calm center, because I know this one has the most to say and the one who is most interested in what I have to say.

Find someone to listen to...and listen.

Listen without any agenda...don't guide the conversation to where you want it to go. Let him or her go where they want to go at their pace.

Feed back information so they know you're listening.

It may be a strange experience, but it will end up enriching both of you as individuals and the relationship.


And seek out someone who is ready to listen to you.

Author's Bio: 

Larry Hochman is "The Guidance Guy" who contributes to, and has published widely on education and home business. To subscribe to Earn Additional Income, Larry's free home business journal, email to: