The holidays provide a good opportunity to spend quality time with family, friends and co-workers while making deposits in our relationships. Naturally, conversation and talking with people is a big part of this season. Most people are very good at talking about themselves; however, the best gift this year is the gift of listening, and it doesn’t cost a dime.

Listening is more than “hearing.” When you truly hear and comprehend what another person is saying, you add to their self-worth and validate them. Who wouldn’t want that for a gift?

What’s the key? Speak less; listen more. Don’t try to “one-up” the other person. Know you’re okay just who you are.

We live in an increasingly busy world. No matter how busy or who you are, take the time to listen to others. Give co-workers, family and friends your attention. Greet them with a smile. Look them in the eyes and honor their thoughts.

There is no better compliment you can pay another person than taking the time to ask them questions and listen to their responses. Try to listen without the intent to reply. Practice patience and listen completely until the person finishes his or her point.

Break out of old habits of not listening and needing to be the center of attention. You’re great just the way you are. Not only will it make the holidays more enjoyable, it will help you in your professional and personal life. And it doesn’t cost a dime!

Happy new year!

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