Listening is Hard

Listening is hard. At least that's my experience and there's lots of research that correlates with my experience. I recently heard or read somewhere that we can only listen for 7 seconds without interrupting the speaker or having our thoughts drift off. I couldn't find where I read or heard this. Maybe some podcast? Maybe I forgot because I was already thinking about this blogpost before I finished listening to the article...

Anyway, I searched around a bit and found several posts that say we only listen 5-7 seconds and then start to think of something else or we start to think about interrupting. Another posts says it 18 or 23 seconds. Tom Peters says 18 seconds. And this post just doesn't know...

In any case listening is extremely important. Seth Godin wrote a nice post about this. Listening is "not a passive act" and needs "purpose". And Luis Suarez wrote about "active listening" and points to a lovely video about listening with Tom Peters. Listening is "a profession that needs to be learned".

Ok, but are there any ways to improve my listening skills? An old post by Dave Gray has a nice list to start with. After reading Euan Semple's post about why managers should blog (and why it's hard!), I thought: Blogging is also a great way to improve listening. Euan says:
You notice more. You become more aware of what is happening around you because you may choose to write about it one day.
And one of the ways to notice is to listen.

How do you actively listen? Are you good at listening? What makes a good listener according to you?

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