Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Good Listening

Listening is not just something you do.  It isn't just something that happens when you don't talk.  It is a skill that has to be honed.

Listening takes work and time to master.  People who are good listeners have been through something that made them acquire this skill.  Life lessons teach this skill.  Failures teach this skill.  Curiosity requires it if it is to be satisfied.

It isn't something that comes naturally.  It must be constantly worked to maintain its edge.  One has to consciously act to remain silent until listening has been performed; the inability to do so will eventually dull the ability to listen.

Listening can be an art.  Capturing the data needed and filling in blanks seamlessly to get the broader picture is akin to a visual artist recreating a scene only seen once.  Doing so with an ear to the speaker and not going too far down a rabbit hole is quite challenging.  Confirmational bias can be enough to paint the wrong picture.  Sometimes a broad brush can be used, other times a finer tip is required.  Knowing when to use which demands at least a small amount of imagination.

Good listening is not impossible.  It isn't easy, though.  Hearing doesn't mean you're listening.  Listening is a skill that requires creativity, patience and experience.