Are you a good listener? A 10-question self-diagnosis

The test actually started 15 minutes ago. Apparently, you weren’t listening.

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That rumbling, dark rush of water? Wait, it’s changed. Now it sounds like the sweep of a hummingbird wing, rapid and delicate. But, in seconds, the noise evolves again, this time emerging as the steady, pounding whine of a buzz saw.

Where are we? We’re in a business meeting.

Make no mistake, those noises exist just underneath the surface of almost every meeting. That rush of water could be an eager project leader, the hummingbird could be a quiet and smart junior professional, and the buzz saw (you guessed it) might be the company’s resident cynic.

The problem is, most professionals don’t seem to want to actively listen anymore. We want to prove that we’re smartest folks in the room, so we talk, talk, and talk. And when we’re not talking, we’re just “on hold,” waiting for the next chance to talk.

But that’s incredibly shortsighted behavior. Do you know what the main goal of any business meeting or discussion is? It’s to build a relationship among individuals. Deliberate, intentional “listening” allows you to create a foundation of empathy and trust with your peers, clients and new business targets.

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