A Clever Way to Practice Active Listening

Photo by Hina Ichigo

Photo by Hina Ichigo

How often do you listen intently to what someone else is saying without thinking about your own reply?  Or thinking about something else entirely?  I find it hard to focus sometimes, and in our world of constant interruptions and updates, I am probably not the only one.  In an article called How to Radically Improve Your Life with Just 1 Hour a Week, I was excited to find a new idea of how to practice active listening: Actively listen to a top podcast.

What a clever idea!  A way to practice active listening without the temptation to respond, which will help develop your ability to focus.  Once you're able to listen intently to podcasts, doing the same during conversations will be easier.

I did something similar last year when I realized that I was multitasking at home by watching TV and doing tasks on my computer; I wasn't being very productive or allowing myself to relax, and I had time to do both if I separated my activities.  I picked one show that I would not allow myself to multitask during, and I had to put down the laptop and ignore the urge to check emails on my phone.  By doing so, I noticed more--the character development, the foreshadowing, the use of colors and costumes... I had forgotten how rich Mad Men could be!

Are you looking to increase your active listening skills in 2015?  I'm curious to hear more ideas on how to practice.


Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.