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When it comes to making better decisions for yourself and your family or company, too much emphasis is placed on improving your own skills, says Bernard Ferrari, author of a new book on the importance of listening. Instead, lending an ear to those around you--really listening to them with an open mind--may be the best way to improve the quality of your organization. Ferrari knows that is easier said then done. In his book, he outlines several archetypes of bad listeners who are quite good at pretending to hear what their employees say.

What's the Big Idea?

According to Ferrari, the Opinionator is someone who uses the ideas of others to express his or her own opinion on the subject, usually looking to confirm their already-formed view on the matter. It takes especially thick skin to get through to the Grouch, who is automatically opposed to almost every new suggestion. The Perseverator may seem like he or she is engaging in dialogue but is actually just thinking out loud. The Pretender is someone who wants to make you feel like you are being heard without putting your ideas into practice. 

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