2. No "zinging." Many of us think a little, friendly "zing" or sarcastic remark is harmless. Not so. In fact, one of the number-one indicators of underlying conflict or negativity within a work environment or relationship is increased sarcasm. There is nothing harmless about it.
3. Don't "chase rabbits." Not sticking to the topic at hand, or chasing rabbits, creates a negative emotional reaction in others. When we don't stick to the point, the person trying to listen is first confused, then impatient and finally resentful.
4. Don't interrupt. It's not only rude, but it often creates the opposite of what we want to achieve. When we interrupt, we generally think we will end or reduce the length of the conversation, but the opposite is true.
5. Restate what you heard. We should make this tip a habit in all our conversations. If we have restated the other person's message correctly, their reaction will most often be, "She DID understand me!" Then you can move on to the next issue.
6. Ask questions that will clarify, not judge. A question should never begin with the word "why." That puts people on the defensive -- and we know that defensiveness stops conversation rather than continues it.
7. Stay in the today, not the yesterday. Often, when we talk about the yesterdays, we tend to throw up the past, or blame. Blaming is a judgment and automatically causes the other person to become defensive.