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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #071 – Active Listening
November 23, 2009

"Your past is your story up to now. The future is the story yet to come. The present is where you live with that experience, your hopes and your dreams."

Your Life is Your Story Newsletter

November 22, 2009 Issue #071 – Active Listening

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Thanksliving
Featured Article: Active Listening
Resources You Can Use

Opening Remarks: Thanksliving

In a few days Americans will celebrate the annual Thanksgiving holiday. If you celebrate it in the spirit of gratitude and fellowship then you are doing more than giving thanks. You are “thanks-living”. Of course, we should express an attitude of gratitude every day of the year. But certainly a day dedicated to family, food and friendship is a good thing.

Do keep in mind those less fortunate who don’t have what many of us take for granted – a home and a daily meal.

Thanksgiving can be quality time spent with your relatives. Do you have someone in your family that you could spend an hour with, listening and recording some of the important memories of their life? The second annual National Day of Listening is taking place on Friday, November 26, 2009 and you can find more information below.

Once again this year I am giving thanks for family – including my extended family – you!

You are receiving this e-zine because you signed up for it or someone who is subscribed passed it along to you. If a friend DID forward this to you consider subscribing by visiting our signup page . Also, let me know what you’d like to see more of in this newsletter – simply reply to this email e-zine.

While the main focus of this newsletter is to share thoughts, ideas, and insights on life story writing you should know that I offer various services and also mention some products and services that can be helpful. You are under no obligation to purchase anything, but if any of these products or services are helpful and you decide to utilize them then I am most grateful.

Thanks for reading. – Tom

Featured Article: Active Listening

By Tom Gilbert - Copyright © November, 2009

I’m fond of stating emphatically my belief that everyone has a story to tell. Many people find that writing about their life is a great way to share their life story. Autobiography and memoir writing is more popular than ever.

Not everyone is comfortable or skilled in writing, but most of us can talk about our lives. We can reminisce and recall experiences and stories that are important to us. If you desire to be interviewed you hope that the experience will be positive and enlightening. This means finding someone willing to listen carefully. The person who conducts the interview should be skilled in asking questions, and more importantly, listening well.

Active listening is a way to listen with all of your senses. This type of careful listening includes using verbal and non-verbal cues. Good eye contact, body language that communicates interest, proper periods of silence (don’t rush an answer), supporting statements, asking clarifying questions and reflecting/mirroring statements are all important in communicating.

Most people like to talk about themselves. But they also want to know they are being “heard”. This usually means they want to know they are understood and accepted. Good active listening techniques help to accomplish this.

Active listening is not only important when interviewing someone for their life story. It is really a great way to improve communication. The next time you are gathered with a group, such as family members at the holidays, spend some quality one-on-one time and practice active listening techniques (see more at at Show you care. Look and be interested in what the other person is saying. And if you get the opportunity to be interviewed, return the favor by being a good “active speaker”. Express yourself with thoughtfulness and enthusiasm.

People love a good story. If you are helping to capture the life stories of your loved ones be sure to learn and use active listening techniques and you are bound to get more of a great story.

You can read other articles on life-story writing here.

Resources You Can Use

Journal Software

The Journal Software is so much more than just “diary software”. Great tools, templates, writing prompts and organized with so many wonderful features, all for less than $40! Your purchase includes free updates.

I use the Journal software and highly recommend it. With a new year approaching now is a great time to make the commitment to a journal and this fantastic tool will help preserve your thoughts, experiences and even boost your productivity. Find out more here.

National Day of Listening

The second annual National Day of Listening (initiated by StoryCorps) is Friday, November 27, 2009. This is a day to pick one person and sit down and listen to their story for an hour (or more!). This is a way to capture some family history or honor a person, such as a teacher, a friend, a minister or anyone who is willing to talk about their life.

You can record the audio or use a camera and capture the story on video. Even if you don’t record it, you can at least have a good conversation and write notes. Details and helpful resources are included at

The Thanksgiving SiteBuild It! 2.0 Special

The new SiteBuild It! is a truly great way to build a web presence that is much more than a web site. You can build an online business with all the tools you need without having to be technology savvy. Search engine optimization, keyword brainstorming, interactive content and much more. I’ve personally used SBI for over six years and I’m convinced it is the best value around. SBI 2.0 has just rolled out so you get the best version ever – without a price increase!

Right now there is a Thanksgiving Special being offered through November 30. Find out how about the special saving. Whatever your web needs you should definitely investigate SBI before buying something that won’t do what you need. Save time and expense and follow the formula for success that so many others have already discovered.

Closing Information

That’s it for this month’s issue. Thanks for reading. Be sure to visit our blog regularly, and here’s to telling your story. Do give it some serious consideration because I just know you’ve got a great story to tell! Be sure to see the Get Started section.

Any comments, ideas or feedback is greatly appreciated. Just reply to this ‘zine and tell me what you think!

Until next time, – keep your story alive!

Tom Gilbert

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