I used to think I was an excellent listener; as in the past, I have been commended on my listening skills.

However, of late, that has been called into question.

I was having a meal with one of my best friends recently, and while explaining his situation, I interrupted. He said, ‘You are not listening to me. Let me finish.’

At that moment, I realised I had a habit of finishing peoples sentences, interrupting, or choosing the words for them, and it struck me how frequently I did that.

More recently, I reflected on a conversation with one of my brothers and the times he has said, Mort; you will not let me finish. Listen.

Fortuitously, I read an article by Marshall Goldsmith where he spoke about a successful lawyer, whose principal reason for his success was not only his litigation skills but that he gave his undivided attention when he was talking to someone. Most of all, he let them finish what they were saying.

To allow that space in between can be challenging.

In many respects, listening is a crucial skill, like drawing is an art, and it takes practice to develop. Steven Covey put it well; he said, “most people don’t listen with the intent to understand they listen with the intent to speak.” I agree.

I think in business and life in general, it is one of the key ways to build profound relationships. After all, we all want to feel validated, heard and understood.

Until we meet