One of the key life skills – if not the most important skill – is that of listening. Yes, listening! It’s amazing how many of us are not good listeners. We’re much more
interested in talking. One of the proverbs I’ve recently memorized is 12:23: “A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself…”.
A great technique that I have adopted, especially when having coffee or a meal with someone for the first time, is opening with the question: “Tell me the Sam Kelly story.” Usually, the other person (Sam in this case) says something like, “Well, I work at…”. I stop him and ask him to start at the beginning, i.e., tell me where you grew up, went to school, began your career, met your wife, etc. Then I listen carefully and interject to clarify my understanding and/or to share something we have in common. Most people like the attention and interest that another person shows in them. And, often, the person will say in turn, “Tell me the Mike Brunner story.” It’s a great way to get to know another person – and to work on your listening skills. Why not give it a try?