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Better Listening for More Brainpower

Brainpower Contest Winner # 10

Here is the winning entry for the weekly brainpower contest:

(For rules and to see other winnimng entries, visit the page Brainpower Tips Contest.)

Better listening is a great way to better brainpower. This is especially true if you accept my definition of brainpower as the ability to apply your thinking effectively to real life, as opposed to just intelligence or potential. Most people have something to teach us if we listen carefully.

However, listening carefully can be difficult if we feel the need to express our opinions. This tends to turn a conversation into a battle of opinions, rather than a way to learn something new. Listen to such a conversation with an open mind, and you'll probably hear several new ideas and interesting facts from each side. The participants, however, probably won't learn much. They are too busy defending their positions.

Some of us tend to dominate a conversation. This can be very nice for others if we are fonts of useful information. But the person speaking is not in a position to learn many new things, is he? This, then, is another bad habit to overcome if we want to listen better and learn more.

Here, then, is a how you can train yourself to be a better listener:

First, when you do speak up in a conversation, don't bother to express your opinion. Mostly people don't care, or they would ask for it. Instead, ask a question about something the other person has said. This is a better way to listen and to learn something new.

Second, to go get over the habit of dominating a conversation, start purposely going silent. Notice what percentage of the time you are speaking. Practice listening to a conversation without saying too much. Ideally, listen while two or three others talk. Try to say nothing unless it is a question, or if you are asked a question.

Third, review what you hear. After listening to someone, think of something new and interesting that you learned, and perhaps some way in which you might use the information. This tells your unconscious mind that listening for these new and useful ideas is important, and so "programs" it to do so more automatically.

A side benefit is that you will be more popular. Many people are annoyed by those who talk too much, but you never hear someone say, "He listens too much." The real benefit, though, is that you will learn more and have a more powerful mind.

Note: I have to thank myself for this one. I didn't have any entries for the contest this week. I guess I better do a better job promoting it. (Use the link below to see the rules and what you win.)

In order to get the newsletter put together and have this page up before that, I have to pick a winner just two or three days after each newsletter. However, if you sent any ideas in later, I may use them for the following weeks.

Click here to return to the Brainpower Contest Page.

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