How to Listen – Best Tip Ever

If you think listening is easy, you aren’t doing it.

Listening is hard:

Listening is hard because some people can’t stop talking.

Perhaps a talk-timer would help, like a chess timer with a slap-button on the top. You have one minute to talk. When you’re done you slap the timer to assign your partner one minute.

But a talk-timer wouldn’t help. All you would do is wait for their minute to expire so you could say the really important stuff.

Listening isn’t competition.

Listening is hard because it’s no fun listening to someone who isn’t as smart as you. It’s difficult to listen when you’re so damn smart.

Listening is hard because you have important things to do. Time pressure and listening are inversely related. More time pressure – less listening.

Listening matters:

If you listen, you won’t tell people something they already know.

Listening multiplies your leadership impact and effectiveness.

It might be helpful to realize that other people like to be heard and understood as much as you like it.

10 powers of listening:


  1. Indicates thought. Smart people look stupid when they solve the wrong problem.
  2. Displays wisdom. Fools talk. Wisdom listens.
  3. Expresses interest.
  4. Shows respect.
  5. Acknowledges worth. A listening ear tells others they matter.
  6. Encourages hearts.
  7. Builds trust.
  8. Strengthens connection.
  9. Improves teamwork.
  10. Advances effectiveness and efficiency.

If listening is so powerful, maybe we should try it.

Listening tips:

Listening expert Julian Treasure believes, “Every human being has to listen consciously in order to live fully.” Julian’s tips for better listening:

  1. Receive. Pay attention.
  2. Appreciate. Make little noises like mmm. Nod.
  3. Summarize. “So, ….”
  4. Ask questions.

Best listening tip ever: Listen to ask a question.

Best listening insight: Humility solves most listening issues.

Why is listening hard?

What’s your best listening tip?

Bonus material:

How to be a Better Listener (NYT)

How to be a Better Listener (Scientific American)

Listening is an Overlooked Leadership Tool (HBR)