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Preface

Preface

If you want to improve your ability to listen effectively in your business and personal life, this book is for you. Most of us are not good listeners. While at work, we normally listen at about 25% of our listening capacity. Most of us think we are good listeners, and that overconfidence may be the reason for our downfall. Even if we devote full concentration to listening, we cannot listen at 100% efficiency for very long. And at 100% efficiency, the message we are listening to must be urgent to sustain our attention.

Aside from breathing, humans listen more than anything. Carefully reading this book will help you learn to listen better on the job and at home. Before good listening can happen you must want to be a good listener. Whether you are an administrative assistant, an account executive, a programmer, or a project manager, you can improve your listening if you have the desire, the interest, a high level of concentration, self-discipline, and a positive attitude.

This book will provide you with important listening know-how. It is a self-study introduction to the basic skills you need to become a better listener. It provides many helpful suggestions for incorporating more effective listening skills into your business day. However, listening styles and motivation are highly individual, so there is no claim as to how much your listening skills will improve. We offer many suggestions for improvement, along with some motivation to help you make constructive changes in your listening style. After completing The Business of Listening, you can practice your newfound listening awareness on co-workers, family, and friends.

With the publication of this third edition of The Business of Listening an entire section has been added and devoted to the four types of Listening Styles. Understanding your own listening style, and that of others, will help you adjust your own behavior to improve your ability to listen and communicate with others.

Use The Business of Listening as a reference, and challenge yourself to practice until you have mastered each new skill. Remember: practice does not make perfect—it makes permanent. Listening well will help you function more effectively in both your business and personal life. So pick up your pencil, tune in, and turn to Part I.

Happy Listening.

Diana Bonet

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