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Robin Carlo: Is Listening Nature or Nurture?

How did some people come to be good listeners? Is it nature or nurture?

“Marlajayne” posted a thought-provoking response to my blog last week. She noted that although listening is the means of communication we are most often called upon to use, it’s the one for which we receive the least training. 

She’s right of course; we’re taught to read, we’re taught to write and much time is certainly spent teaching our babies to speak the words Mommy and Daddy, but little instruction is ever provided on the art of listening.

Some of us in the helping professions have been schooled in active listening techniques but generally reserve the use of these strategies to professional encounters (if we utilize them at all). True active listeners are rare in social or professional situations and when we happen upon one it is a surprisingly refreshing experience. How did such folks come to be good listeners? Is it nature or nurture? Can the skill be caught by spending time in the presence of good listeners or does it need to be taught and practiced? 

Two months of focusing on listening have certainly improved my skills but if anyone has any ideas on how I can speed up my progress I am all ears!

—Robin Carlo



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