At the end of a conversation, the person who talked the most will leave feeling better about the interaction partly because they were able to voice what they wanted. Can the same be said about the person who listened? Did they hear what was being communicated or simply wait for a brief pause to put in their two cents?

Listening is one of the most underrated skills and underutilized actions. We love talking to a good listener. But we are doing simply that. Talking.

Being a person that actively listens is hard to do. It requires engaged emotions on both sides.

Some people are gifted listeners. It is a trait that acts as a magnet for others. We all know that person who seems to be liked by everyone. Chances are, they are a good listener.

If we like people who listen and want to be liked, then why is it so difficult to listen? Physically being present while someone is talking does not count. You have to choose to listen.

Before you can listen, you must stop your mind from creating your next speaking point and focus on hearing what is being said. I wish this was easier to do.

This week, make a conscious effort to listen to what is being said. Engage yourself in the conversation and see how you feel about it after it is over. Listening can be just as rewarding, if not more so.

Do not worry, when the time is right, you will still be able to talk.

Bryan Cliftonattitude, choices