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You will completely agree with me when I state that there are more good speakers and fewer good listeners.

Sadly, most of the big mouths don't understand this! They can go on and on and on much to the chagrin of the poor listener.

An aunt of mine has a speaking "disease." When she phones me, I am sure to be on line for at least an hour! I am an averagely okay listener. But I completely lose my patience with her. I have adopted a strategy to tackle this. When she calls, l let her talk while the phone receiver is kept on the table and I go about my chores. Every twenty to twenty five minutes, I pick up the receiver to check if things are okay on the other end and give an occasional grunt of acknowledgement.

There are some people who have this bad habit of repeating themselves without being able to end the conversation. If they have to say a simple thing like, "Could you come over a little later because I will be out," they will say, "You see, I am going over to my cousin's who is unwell. She has got an attack of flu and has been home for days! Poor thing! I thought I'd pay her a visit! She has been missing school and is so bored! She is a wonderful person, blah, blah." Before you know it, you know the cousin intimately as a person but you may not know her name!

Have you come across people who mumble? You have to repeatedly ask them to speak up and strain your ears to hear what they are saying. After a while, you may just give up and nod sagely without hearing a word? He may be asking you a question and you will nod in reply, not having heard a word!

Then there are people who speak so loudly that after a five-minute conversation, the speaker¡¦s voice seems to resound in the echo of the eardrums!

Then there are people who have a habit of emphasizing on their words and speak extremely slowly. They feel that what they are saying is extremely useful to the listener and they are entitled to take all day to get their point across! Meanwhile, the listener has lost interest after hearing the first few words and is merely nodding politely thinking to himself, "What a nerd! Why can't he just complete what he is saying quickly! I have a million and one things to do."

Then there are people who can bore you to death! They can even make a funny situation drab! They normally wear a dull expression on their faces and carry themselves as if the weight of the world is on their shoulders! They have no sense of humor and take life too seriously! Yawn!

Do you think of yourself as a good communicator? Why don't you check your communication qualities with the ones stated below before you can be sure about your communication skills?

Communicating entails:

- Developing a good tone of voice - smooth, and not too loud or too soft.

- Having a good grammatical grasp on the language spoken or written and being precise i.e. to the point in terms of getting across one's thought or idea. "If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything." says Confucius.

- Being clear and articulate.

- Pausing at intervals in case of a long dialogue and making sure that one is being understood and is getting one's point across.

- Speaking at moderate speed i.e. not too slow or too fast.

- Adding humor to one's conversation. This helps even if one is discussing a dreary topic. It is said that "Humor is a universal language."

- Collating and organizing the information in one's mind before beginning one's dialogue.

- Looking directly at the listener while speaking.

- Refraining from gesturing too much with the hands - it's distracting.

- Listening attentively while being on the receiving end without interrupting the speaker.

And, last of all, SMILE - whenever the opportunity permits - it make the atmosphere much more conducive.

These skills are best learnt when practiced. Be aware at all times of your communicating skills while speaking to just about anybody. Lastly, "The more you say, the less people remember. The fewer the words, the greater the profit."