While many of us have thought of being a good listener being like a sponge that accurately absorbs what the other person is saying, instead, what these findings show is that good listeners are like trampolines. They are someone you can bounce ideas off of — and rather than absorbing your ideas and energy, they amplify, energize, and clarify your thinking. They make you feel better not merely passively absorbing, but by actively supporting.

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman bypass assumptions about listening skill and dig into the specific attributes of good listeners in this illuminating post from Harvard Business Review. Auditors and others that regularly perform agency interviews can take note of how actively engaging their interviewees in collaborative discussions, rather than the more traditional back-and-forth, could lead to better understanding on the part of listeners.

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