The Skill of Listening

5 Tips to help you right now

Our jobs are dependent upon listening.

That may seem obvious, but in truth, our deepest personal relationships are dependent upon listening as well.

With so much riding on listening, I’m always a bit surprised how few of us have ever given any thought to it.

I mean, the skill of listening, for it is a skill, and like golf or cooking, the more instruction and practice you have, the better you become at it.

Without conscious intent, I began learning about active listening 23 years ago, and have been paying for continuing education and the repetition of practicing with an expert ever since.

I’m sure those who knew and worked with me before this began wish I had started years earlier. I am still learning.

This year, I completed graduate level course work at the University of Denver to further refine my skills. The side benefit is that I am now also a certified professional mediator. Mediation requires focused, active listening, skill in re-framing issues as opportunities, validation, and always, reflection — checking for accuracy that what you’ve heard is what the other person said. I highly recommend the training.

I’m not telling you this to pat myself on the back. To the contrary, the better you know me the more you understand that it can’t require anything extraordinary if I could do it.

I’m telling you this to encourage you to act.

You can start right now by watching this TED talk. It takes less than 8 minutes. If you take nothing else away from it, take the tip about reflection: “So, what I heard you say is…”


And, since conflict within any station and relationship is inevitable, if you ever need a skilled mediator to help get things un-stuck, I can always use the practice…