Are You Listening?

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” — Stephen R. Covey

My not-so-great meeting habit has always been the impulse to interrupt a speaker when something they say sparks an interesting idea. Being disrespectful or diminishing the speaker’s ideas is never my intent, but that is the result in the end. Essentially, I don’t want to forget about the idea or question that popped into my head. It’s especially difficult when my comment or question has personal relevance or the topic is one of my passions, like science, branding, communications or dogs. (Yes, I’m one of those pesky dog people!)

To be a good listener, not only do I need to remain silent until the other person is finished, I genuinely want to hear people out; “…listen[ing] with the intent to understand…” So, several years ago, I started taking a notebook and pen to every meeting. A simple fix but changing a habit is never easy. They say the best communicators practice *active* listening; they make a conscious decision to listen.

This HBR article does a great job explaining the finer points of taking notes to become a better listener.

https://hbr.org/2017/03/become-a-better-listener-by-taking-notes

Do you have a bad meeting habit that needs to go?

© 2021 Tracey Copeland, Rolling Sands Consulting. A version of this post was published to LinkedIn on September 24, 2020.

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