Three brief thoughts on listening

I interviewed my dad last weekend. Interviewing is listening. Listening takes energy. I’ve learned that I need to consider my own energy level – and the energy level of the interviewee when I plan and do the interview. Afterwards, I’m pooped, especially if an interview comes in context of a family visit, which includes travel, setting up, interview, socializing, travel home.

I ran across two “listening” thoughts recently.

Listening is a lost art. “People aren’t really listening, they waiting for their turn to talk.  Or they’re formulating their talking points while someone else is talking.” Oral history is a cure for this. Or, if not a cure, a way to discover and battle those (”Well—” and “But—”) tendencies within yourself. One upside: You get to choose the topic that the other person talks about. Which, depending on the chit-chat tendencies of the person you’re interviewing, can be A Very Good Thing.

You don’t learn very much when you yourself are talking. That was one person’s highlight from a podcast interview held with Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, The context was business, but this came from Schmidt’s experience teaching a class at Stanford, and hearing quetions from students. Keeps him fresh. Worthwhile perspective on many levels.

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 23, 2007 in • Interviewing
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