Listening Is a Great Creative Skill

A number of years ago, I attended a communications workshop and learned something about conscious listening. We all think that we listen all day long. But let's say you're in a business meeting or a brainstorming session, listening to a speech, or listening to a voice-mail message, and someone's remark sends your mind immediately off on a tangent of how you might follow up or respond. if you're thinking of what your answer is going to be, you aren't listening. You may be missing the answer to your own question being discussed by the other individual. For example, in a lecture, you may not be getting everything you desire from the speaker because you're too busy going off on your own mental tangent.

Listening means being engaged with the speaker. And one aspect of listening that leads to tremendous ideation possibilities is the concept of jotting, which we'll discuss next. Whether you're in a dialogue with someone, watching a program on TV, sitting in a classroom, or attending a business meeting, jot down the thoughts that come into your mind while you're listening. Notice, I intentionally use the word jot, not write down. Just jot down the gist of the ideas that are coming into your mind; take yourself away from the active listening for just a brief moment and jot. Or, if you're more graphically inclined, sketch. Don't draw, sketch. Either way, briefly capture the gist of the idea that you have. And when you're done, you can go back to being an active listener. You can go back to hearing more, to observing more. Jot rather than taking the time to write things down.

The same thing is true in brainstorming, as we'll discuss on page 209. Often, when people have an idea during brainstorming, they start writing it down in detail, finding out what's wrong with it, and deciding how to make it happen. While they're in this state, what i call the execution mode, they're not in sparking-of-ideas mode. Our minds oper ate on many different planes, and I can assure you that the sparking-of-ideas mode is very different from the rational, linear, let's-prove-it-out, let's-think-it-through, let's-use-logic modes that we use when we're executing or just thinking through a problem. Jotting becomes an aid to creativeness because jotting allows you to observe and write down the gist of whatever ideas that come into your mind while remaining in ideation mode. All of which brings us to another aid to creativity.

Active Listening

Active Listening

We can all recall situations where we have utterly failed to listen to what someone else is saying. For various reasons, we are simply not taking in anything useful. How many times have you been introduced to a person by name only to not know what their name is thirty seconds later?

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