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Listening is Important

Listening skills are probably the most important skill behind reading. Learning to listen, and actively hear what is said is also essential. Below are steps to take if you need help listening to what people REALLY say to you.

Active Listening

Active listening is hearing the other person for understanding. However, most of us listen to be able to react or frame a response quickly. Don’t do that!  Don’t listen for yourself to answer, listen to understand. You will gain far more insight into your speaker, by letting them talk. Hear what words they choose and how they say those words. Active listening takes effort, but you learn far more about what’s said when you are engaged and hearing the other person.

Body language

So, you’re probably thinking, but I’m on the phone, and can’t “see” my speaker. But you can! Listen for inflection, tone, and the speed of the speaker’s speech. Usually, someone upset or in “fight mode” will speak quickly and emotionally. Someone calm and measured in their speech is under control of their emotions. When you are at work, even remotely, you can listen and pick up ques in the person’s speech.

A rational speaker is usually easier to understand motive, even over a phone call. Body language goes beyond “seeing” the speaker but again actively listening to “how” the speaker is engaging with you.

Responding After Listening

You are now asking, so when DO I need to respond? If you have an upset friend and listening to them about a bad experience, sometimes never. No response is a response in this type of situation. As humans, we want to solve problems, but sometimes it’s best to just listen. Listening with an open mind and heart to fully understand the other person takes a lot of effort.

And sometimes you might never understand the person’s motives or true feelings, but you were there for them. Sometimes just being a friend and confidante is all that is needed in the moment, and active listening is key.

Practice makes permanent, so try just listening for a change. Don’t interrupt and truly listen to the other person on the phone, on Zoom, or sitting with you. The more you practice actively listening, reading body language, and understanding your listener the better you become.

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Travel Smart

If you’re curious what the best books and resources a traveling librarian recommends, read on. From choosing your destination to memoirs, pick the smartest resources that will meet your travel needs and help you navigate your trip.

Travel Guides – Think Maps

As a visual learner, who loves photos, I enjoy DK Eyewitness Travel books. These travel titles always have helpful maps and tons of current pictures.  The location is researched and updated almost yearly and many of the books can be checked out at your library!  Library cards are free of charge, and many books can also be renewed. So, take your travel guide with you and have a free resource at your fingertips. Check out other locations before you travel by visiting your local library, and the travel guides available.

Memoirs on Travel

If you’re the type of traveler, who wants to experience a place you’ve read about, then check out these books. Loosely based on the writers’ personal experiences, you’ll also get a true feel of the destination before you travel.  “Under the Tuscan Sun” is a transformative book about Italy and finding yourself. Another book, “Eat, Pray, Love” also set in Italy explores the regional cuisine. You get the idea. Visit your library, and search “travel fiction” and you will be surprised how many novels based on real life travel exist.

Elephant Journal Website

This website is a writer’s haven, and I love posting my travel articles here. There is also a treasure trove of travel experiences and ideas available for trips. What makes Elephant Journal unique is it’s also a free resource with a very personal spin on the experiences. Just search for Travel or Family Travel and articles will appear that meet your criteria. I’ve personally learned some great ideas for winter travel and unique destinations. Learning  about different travel adventures or hidden gems during a trip is what you’ll find by reading Elephant Journal.

Word of Mouth

Finally, ask your friends, family, and coworkers where they’ve gone and enjoyed the most. Word of Mouth has been the best resource to learn about kid friendly spots and the times of year to travel. Be aware that someone’s best vacation, might not be yours. So, go into your travel discussions with an open mind and expectations that suit your family and travel budget. Your best vacation might be just around the corner after that business lunch. Enjoy and safe travels!