Wednesday, 7 September 2011

#24 This week’s TED talk

Interesting little TED talk today from a sound expert on how we are losing our listening skills, and 5 things we can do to improve them.

I’ve had improving my listening on my list of aims at work for the last few years. It has struck me before that whenever we talk about communication many people focus solely on the talking. When I did communication training many years ago it was about public speaking, and different ways of writing to get my message across. Nobody suggested listening training. I’ve spoken in the past about how it frustrates me that some people assume those with extroverted natures, and big loud personalities, would naturally make better leaders and better communicators, because of their willingness to put themselves out there and talk in any situation. It seems intuitive to me that a key skill in working with people and communicating well is actually the ability to shut up. You’d be surprised how many people can’t do this.

In fact I’d go so far as to suggest that we’re actually trained not to listen. A key part of listening well is the ability to pay full attention to what the other person is saying, rather than focus on formulating your own response, and to let someone else finish what they’re saying rather than jumping in at what you assume is near the end of their sentence. Even though I’m aware of it, often I find the latter part difficult because I’ve been conditioned not to do this. In a meeting environment, and I’d suggest, particularly in a masculine environment, if you don’t interrupt you won’t get the chance to speak.  

I have more thoughts on this but am too tired at the moment to be coherent. Instead some quick happy updates:

  1. Had the follow up appointment with the paediatrician this afternoon. He didn’t seem particularly concerned about Martha’s MRI report and said all indications are that it is not a serious problem. Essentially the short version is there are 2 options: either its a dermoid or an atretic meningocele. Given the very small size, 8 x 3mm, it was hard to tell which. All indications are that the rest of the brain is normal. The MRI recommended referral to a neuro specialist to discuss options - likely either to surgically remove or leave it alone (seems obvious when you put it like that!);
  2. My kidney scan came out all clear - still a small benign cyst and won’t require further action; and finally but not leastly
  3. Huge welcome to the family to my new nephew, Owen Benjamin. Choccies and good wishes winging their way to the UK!

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