Listening is paying attention. I believe it is the sound of an open mind, the sound of the music of language, the sound of communication. It is patiently asking questions, and the hearing of sighs. When I find myself not listening, the solution is a simple one. I listen to myself.
Since, I mostly operate with a speaker-talker personality, it is imperative that I listen. I have had to train myself to focus, and tune in and really listen and hear what others are telling me. Often, I will pretend that I am like a dried up sponge laying in the bottom of the sink. I allow each word to be absorbed into my being, much like a dry sponge absorbs each drop of water as it drips from the faucet. I wring it out and play it back to confirm I really heard what the person sharing with me is saying.
When I listen effectively to others, over and over I have discovered that my life is richer, fuller and happier. Not to mention, I save a lot of time. :)
Tune in. Dial in. Focus on listening this week with both ears.