I heard a discussion on the topic of “listening” recently on a Harvard Business Review podcast which started with this as a pretext:
Most of us think we listen well. And, we really don’t.
Just like driving a car or self-evaluating our other abilities, when it comes to listening, we aren’t very good.
According to the podcast, we diminish our effective listening by trying to listen and to do other things at the same time.
Or, we enter into conversations more focused on what we wish to say as compared to focusing on what we could learn.
Or, we enter into conversations with the goal of ending them as quickly as we can. That focus on task alone rules out deeper understanding.
I have insight into good listening. I teach good listening. But, listening to the discussion, I have to admit there’s a good chance I don’t adequately practice what I preach.
I came away from the podcast committed/reminded of several things.
If I do these things, my skill and effectiveness as a listener will grow.
And, as better listening occurs, I will dedicate myself to listen better still. After all, I’m below average when it comes to listening.