Communicating effectively may be one of the most important skills. Interesting that our education system trains us in only 3 of the 4 major means of communication: reading, writing, and speaking, but not listening.
In Stephen Covey’s best-seller, Habit 5 is “seek first to understand, then to be understood”. This is the essence of effective listening.
Next time you’re in a discussion (especially a disagreement) rather than planning your next words while the other person talks, listen with the intent of repeating their message back to them in your own words. Here’s the catch: you have to choose words that are not only your own, but that the other person agrees captures their point/argument/message.
Not an easy task. Especially when there is disagreement. But the surest way to making sure your message is heard, is to make sure theirs is first.