Listen by "sharing the ball"
By Lavern Nissley
If you've ever been in the presence of a masterful listener you feel quite different than when someone is preoccupied with talking about themselves. Is there anything we can do to listen better?
When playing basketball there is a certain kind of player known as a "ball hog". Rather than pass the ball to others they dominate time of possession with their own dribbling and shooting. Other team members start to resent the player who only seems interested in his or her own efforts.
Two ways to avoid becoming a conversational "ball hog": Pass the ball back to the other person with a follow up question or with a good mirroring statement (paraphrase). If you've ever watched 60 Minutes interviews, you've seen listening at its best with these two techniques.
Resolve to "share the ball" as you're conversing with people and watch what happens.
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Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.
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