Listen intently; listen because you are genuinely interested. That kind of listening is one of the highest compliments we can pay anyone.
The chronic kicker, even the most violent critic, will frequently soften and be subdued in the presence of a patient, sympathetic listener – a listener who will be silent with the irate fault-finger dilates like a king cobra and spews the poison out of his system. Be more eager to hear what a person has to say then even they are to tell it. Many people prefer good listeners to good talkers, but the ability to listen seems rarer than almost any other good trait.
All we want when we are in trouble is a friendly, sympathetic listener to unburden yourself. That is frequently all the irritated customer wants, and the dissatisfied employee or the hurt friend. If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back and even despise you, here is the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don’t wait for him or her to finish: bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence.
If you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.
*Compilation taken from “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie