Listening is often see as a passive act. It is not. It’s a powerful act of creation.
Twenty or more years ago I came across this statement from Stephen Covey in talking about his fifth habit “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood” and it has had a profound impact on me.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
Credit: Stephen Covey
I talk more about listening without the intent to reply elsewhere in this blook.
More recently I stumbled over a short video interview with Nancy Kline that makes the point in a different way. In the video she says:
I want to be listening in a way that is more interested in where you will go next than I am in what I am going to say next.
Credit: Nancy Kline
She thinks that the attention of one human being to another is an act of creation. Watch the video below – it’s only two minutes long. Although, I have never quite articulated this in this past its always been an implicit principle behind my Knowledge Cafés.
It may seem strange but listening, although usually seen as passive, can be very powerful action!
This page is part of an online book on Conversational Leadership that I am in the process of writing.
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