How to (re)learn the art of listening

Listening well is a rare superpower.

I had been a bad listener most of my life.

Then I fixed that a few years ago.

The result?

Night & day difference in my critical thinking & leadership ability.

A thread on learning the art of listening v2.0

(with lessons from movies)


First, why is listening hard?

It’s because we tend to have:

1) an inability to be present

2) the fear of being wrong

3) a desire for validation

4) a feeling of superiority

5) a lack of curiosity

6) the urge to impress

A couple of gems from Dee Hock:

“Communication would be vastly improved if everyone who wrote and spoke were content to be understood without needing to be admired.”

“To speak is craft; to listen is art.”

As a young child, I was an excellent listener.

Then, somewhere in my teens & early adulthood, I let my listening ability wane.

So I had to relearn the art of listening.

Here’s something I didn’t realize:

Learning to listen is fun.

It’s more play than work.

Don’t believe me?

We are going to start by watching a couple of movie clips.

After all, we often learn best through examples.

We will look at an example of good listening & an example of bad listening.

Really, watch the scene before proceeding.
So, what can we learn from this scene about listening?

The superficial lesson is not to interrupt others.

But the deeper lesson is that most of us are like Churchill w.r.t. listening.

How so?

While we may not interrupt vocally, *we are interrupting others with our thoughts*.

Think about it for a moment.

Our tendency to constantly have our thoughts swirling in our head when someone is speaking is not too different from us interrupting them.

*They* don’t know it, but we certainly do. And isn’t that what matters more?

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