Skip to main content

Listen - How to Learn to Learn

Good listening skills, in particular Active Listening is essential to learning- and success.

Listening- you think you know it- most of us think we're good listeners. It's very hard to know and acknowledge that you are not good at listening. You may never become a good listener because so many personal emotions and prejudices get in the way of listening.

A good listener tries to understand thoroughly what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but before he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is...
- Kenneth A. Wells, American

Active listening is about focusing on the person who is speaking. An active listener needs to focus full attention on the person who is speaking.

Here are a few good links to learn more about listening:

What is listening?
  • Poor Listening Habits, Poor Listeners, and Good Listeners.
Active Listening

You'll find here the four characteristics of empathetic listeners.

Attributes of Good Listening

Have you ever stopped to think that we require courses and training in our education in speaking and writing, but not in listening? Why not?

Active Listening: A Communication Tool
  • ask good questions,
  • listen non-judgmentally,
  • paraphrase, and
  • empathize with the speaker.
Finally, would you have believed someone who came up to you and said he was a member of the International Listening Association?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Splitting User Stories vs. Rally's "split" feature (that has nothing to do with it!)

Agile tool Rally has a "split" feature it recommends to handle "unfinished work" in a Scrum Sprint:

Manage Unfinished Work - Split user stories (new link)

Below are my observations on the "Split" feature in Rally (followed by a few excellent articles on Splitting User Stories):
This "split" feature in Rally has numerous problems: 1. Nothing to do with Splitting User Stories It has nothing to do with "Splitting a User Story" which is an advanced but fairly well-understood field in Agile, and a tool for Product Managers to use in one of the two scenarios: The Product Manager does it before an Iteration commences (i.e. during backlog creation or release planning) to create User Stories by business value that are right-sized, i.e. they can be comfortably implemented inside an iteration; The Product Manager does it in Iteration Planning or in the middle of an Iteration to reduce scope by removing/simplifying acceptance criteria, in response to t…

To dream or not to dream? How about keeping your mouth shut?

Here's a really nice quote from one of my dear friends in response to one of my dreams.
Between the bigger things you cannot do,and the smaller things you don't want to do,you may end up doing nothing The problem with quotes and analogies is that they are almost always approximately appropriate, but rarely if ever exactly applicable . A quote is by definition a generalization. Also, we are by nature biased with our prejudices, biased by our own very personal and unique experiences, and biased, by nature, against those who are near and dear to us. While we want them to succeed and would eventually be happy if they succeed big, our natural instinct is to "help" them "stay grounded".

I disagree with this helping nature, of course. I can - and will- expound on the virtue of dreaming big and having a big mouth. But that will be another day.

Today I'm going to present a few quotes on the flip-side of my friend's quote. Feel free to add yours to the list…

User Stories: you're not Agile without them

Failure to effectively transition to Agile development is often based on a fundamental failure to understand what a User Story is.

Allow me to explain.

The most important aspect of a User Story is that it's an independently *schedulable* unit of requirement (feature). The key to achieving the "independently schedulable" characteristic of a user story is that you express it in terms of how a "user" would use it. This leads you to a unit of functionality that's implemented end-to-end (UI to backend) that a user can actually interact with.

Not surprisingly, because of the focus on how a user would think about a feature, a user stories are highly readable - and could very well be written by the users themselves. However, the other important and less obvious aspect of a User Story is the emphasis on communication with the end-user and getting confirmation on the acceptance criteria.

Describing all the requirements as User Stories for a decent sized product is rigoro…