Thursday, April 04, 2024

Be a Loud Listener

I'm looking forward to hearing David Brooks speak at my daughter's graduation from Vanderbilt University next month.   Brooks, a writer for the New York Times, has written a new book titled, " How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen.  I'm reading the book now, and it has some terrific insights on how we can connect, empathize, and communicate with others more effectively.  Brooks appeared recently on Matt Abraham's podcast from Stanford.  Brooks introduces a very interesting concept.  He describes the value of being a "loud listener" when communicating with others:  

First, regarding attention, treat attention as an on off switch, not a dimmer. So, when you’re talking to somebody, it should be a hundred percent or zero percent. Don’t try to 60 percent it and have 40 percent of your attention on your phone. Be a loud listener, I have a buddy when you’re talking to him, it’s like talking to a Pentecostal charismatic church, he’s like, uh huh, yes, yeah, uh huh, amen, I preach, preach. I love talking to that guy. And some people are loud with their voices, some people are loud with their faces, they’re emotionally reacting. And so, I love talking to those people.

Brooks is emphasizing an important part of active listening.  It involves really showing the other person that you are paying attention.  You are truly leaning into the conversation when you are a loud listener.  Brooks also reminds us that we aren't very good at multitasking.  We have to give others 100% of our attention in a conversation, rather than trying to do two other things at the same time (which we all do, of course). 

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