Listen, Summarize, Show
July 9, 2022
Came across this brilliant idea by Shane Parrish in one of his blogs on Farnam Street.
The idea pertains to how we can all get better at paying attention and focussing on what others say.
People feel connected and engaged when they are understood and appreciated. However, to understand and appreciate what the other person is saying, you need to listen attentively. Unfortunately, this is where many of us struggle. Sustained listening is one of the hardest skills to master.
Shane Parrish suggests a simple tactic to help us develop the skill to become good at active listening.
Focus your attention to listen with the intention of summarizing the other person’s point of view.
The biggest impediment to active listening is our hyperactive mind. When the other person is speaking, your mind is busy thinking about how to respond, and paradoxically you lose the ability to understand what the other person is saying because you are busy thinking about how to respond. As a result, you miss the deeper cues and jump to conclusions without figuring out if there is any gap in your understanding.
When you listen with the intention to summarize what the other person has just said, you restrict your mind from focusing on figuring out what to say in response, instead storing the other person’s words in your working memory. As a result, you can identify gaps in your understanding and ask questions to clarify. This way you show that you are fully engaged in the conversation.
I struggle with active listening, and Shane Parrish’s model is something I intend to put to use to get better at my listening.