How do you listen?

Are you a good listener?


Do you nod and say ‘aha’ while thinking about something else? Do you make connections to your own life and hijack the conversation? Or do you really listen? Do you wait, ask clarifying questions, show genuine interest and thoughtfully consider your responses?

We explore these options as part of the GCI  Coaching Accreditation Course and I wonder briefly whether the presenters and participants think I’m not really listening, since my laptop is open and at any given time they might see Twitter, Google, Amazon or Youtube on my screen. Almost everyone else is taking notes with pen and paper.

I check with the world, and I appreciate the clarifying response from @CmunroOz:

Having just spent a week learning with @langwitches, I’m even more aware of the value of documentation, not just OF learning, but FOR learning.

I’m recording the learning, for myself, for others at my school… and for a global community of educators with and from whom I constantly learn. The documentation of today’s learning via my Twitter stream will be read by people whom I know in person, people I connect with online… and people I don’t know exist. (I might never know what they learned from my sharing!)

As the presenters speak, I distil the essence, documenting the big ideas via tweets. If a book is mentioned, I find the link and add that to the stream. As we go along, I Google the big names mentioned, make connections, share the video clips and add my own thoughts. If others in the room were doing the same, we’d be sharing the responsibility of documenting collaboratively.

At the end of the workshop, all the tweets, thoughts and links are collated into a Storify to which I (and you!) can refer later. It’s documentation OF and FOR learning – my own, that of my colleagues… and whom ever out there in the world is listening.

How do you listen?

7 thoughts on “How do you listen?

  1. Thanks Edna. Happy to help in a small way. Thoroughly enjoyed checking in with your #growthcoaching Twitter stream during the two days. I’ll check out the Storify. A great way to capture your learning for later reference, and expansion through further interaction. Thanks for sharing with the world!


  2. Listening is very hard to do when we have our mind on something else that is more compelling. When we listen with
    our mind, heart and soul we can get more out of it. Many times we’ll nod with our head and pretend that we are
    listening, but when a pertinent question is asked to us about the subject matter we draw a blank. That is the true test
    of whether we listened or just faked it. By truly listening, we find out what’s truly important to us.


  3. Hey, Edna! This is a question I have really been pondering… if I am on Twitter at a session, am I actively engaged IN the session or am I partially engaged in the session as well as the conversations online. What I have found is that by being on Twitter, I often get distracted by certain aspects or on completely different conversations and miss out on much of the session. I also sometimes take a piece of the session and move deeper with it through dialogue online. What I am really wondering…. what about a goal of a session being so engaging (in deep conversation) that you can hardly tweet? If we are learning by DOING with other participants and cannot find the time to tweet, would this be better? Since I have become more reflective on this piece, I have noticed that I tweet a lot during keynotes but hardly tweet at all (or take notes) during engaging workshops. I still am not sure of when I am truly listening but I do know that there is a fine line between documenting and sharing during a session and truly listening. I woul love your thoughts on this.


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