This exercise helps when you’re negotiating for something or when someone wants you to change what you do. You can start practising straight away to improve your skills. It's often useful in work situations.

First of all think what makes you feel annoyed/ upset/ stop listening when you're in conversation with another person. Then use that information to avoid impacting on others negatively yourself. When someone’s a good verbal communicator they often do things like this:

let the other person speak without interruption – if you interrupt it’s annoying for the person who's speaking and they may not be receptive to what you say.

signal you’re listening and hearing - when the person speaking has finished it’s helpful to show that you have listened and understood - it might go like this: ‘I hear that you want me to think more about things before I start them and you want me to tell you what I’m planning so you can plan as well.’ If you’re accurate the other person will probably nod and because what you’ve said is not exaggerated or point-scoring it's likely to encourage the other person to respond calmly.

You can then have your turn to say what you think and want – try to

acknowledge the other person’s viewpoint or situation - it shows that you’re seeing both sides of the situation (you don’t have to say you agree with their viewpoint)

keep your voice calm and level in tone – the other person is more likely to listen

ask the other person to let you finish if they interrupt you

ask for time to think – if you’re not sure or disagree but can’t find the right words, tell the person you’re talking to that you’ve listened carefully to what they’ve said, that you need time to think it over and you’ll let them know what you think once you’ve had time. It’s much better to do this than agree in the moment to something you regret later.