Listening modes

I deeply appreciate the ideas that Rob Walker of “The Art of Noticing” shares in this weekly newsletter.  To be able to do meaningful work, I have found myself taking the time to notice or observe people, the circumstances, the problems, etc a little more mindfully than I have been used to.

Edition 82 featured user-research expert Ximena Vengoechea, author of “Listen Like You Mean It”.  There’s one particular idea that she suggests tuning into that has been on my mind: “Know your default listening mode”.

Are you a natural problem-solver, always scanning for the problem (and solution) in a conversation? Do you tend to be an identifier, prone to offering your version of a situation unprompted (Me too! That’s just like my experience with…). Maybe you are more the defuser, ready to crack a joke and lighten the mood whenever things get heavy.

No mode is better than the rest, but it’s useful to know your own mode so that you can adapt it as needed, since sometimes our instinct about how to listen is wrong.

There are particular people in my life that I need to adapt my listening style to. They have grown/ changed, and I seem to not have changed how I listen to them.  By default, with them I am a natural problem-solver, even when they don’t need my help. It’s unhelpful, to both of us.

I’m grateful that I have the the opportunity to set that right. It will take effort and pain, but what good things don’t take effort?