Helping leaders emerge

Blog - May 2015

Excuse Me for Speaking While You Interrupt Me – The Art of Active Listening

"When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new." – Dalai Lama

Most of the time we only listen to the first few words the other person is speaking before we begin formulating a response. And unfortunately, our response typically has little to do with the other person. And as a result, many of our conversations end up like the old "Who's on First" Abbott and Costello routine.

So it's not a surprise that many executives express that listening is an important communication skill and part of their continuous leadership development. Simple concept, not easy practice.

Why is it so challenging?

  • We speak at 100-175 words a minute and think at 600-800 words a minute
  • Attention span today is ONLY 2.5 seconds versus 15 seconds few generations back
  • The mind is a chronic wanderer
  • Too much constant stimulation – cell phones, email, etc.
  • Involves being patient, which is challenging in our fast paced, "get it done now" world

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