WAXAHACHIE — You know you do it. You are preparing your answer while the other person is still talking and you lose track of what he said. How do you get the most benefit out of the time you spend communicating? What are the pitfalls to successfully communicating with others?

Jane Ann Shipp and Rotarian Margaret Felty explained how to navigate interpersonal communications.

These persons are long-time teachers and professional counselors and offer training in this area. The number one problem is that our biases limit our ability to hear the other person. He may not be like you or agree with your philosophy, or he may dress differently. At any rate, his presence distracts you from his message.

To communicate you have to listen so you must put your feelings aside. It helps to think like a mediator. Listen, comprehend, compare to your position then respond.

Listening is 93 percent non-verbal. You have heard, “Look him in the eye.” You must also be aware of your body language and the message it sends. Properly shaking hands is a powerful indication.

You have to select what you want to listen to and pay attention to it. You also have to understand what has been said and remember it. Communication is a two-way process and you have to respond. If you were distracted and did not understand the message you cannot effectively respond. You can not be planning your response while the other person is talking.