And so… to get bet­ter at it

ELLE (Malaysia) - - BEAUTY PSYCHE -

“Be op­ti­mistic about your abil­ity to change,” says Sharp. “Peo­ple can learn all sorts of new be­hav­iour if they’re in­tent on it.” Treat con­ver­sa­tion as an op­por­tu­nity to learn. Try to be­come gen­uinely in­ter­ested in the other per­son. “Mov­ing your in­ter­nal nar­ra­tor to the back seat en­ables you to stay open-minded and non-judg­men­tal,” Clarke says, “and keep your fo­cus on the other per­son.”

In dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tions,

ask the other per­son if they’d be will­ing to time-box

your turns. Five min­utes for them, five for you, no in­ter­rup­tions. Have the con­ver­sa­tion stand­ing up, to keep things mov­ing. Avoid tough talks if you’re al­ready on edge. And con­sider where you’re best able to lis­ten: crowded bar or quiet kitchen.

Put your phone down.

Ad­mit when you missed some­thing. Prac­tise notic­ing when you zone out, and why. Re­mem­ber that be­com­ing a bet­ter lis­tener has a huge emo­tional pay-off. Peo­ple like you. “Ev­ery­one just wants to tell their story,” Clarke says. “So let them.”

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