Tips From Times Of Isolation #1

May 4, 2020

Anyone who’s worked with me probably knows by now that I am not a big fan of listening skills workshops.    I’ve fought for the idea that the speaker has the responsibility to say something worth listening to and say it in a compelling way.   And a writer has the responsibility to write something worth reading and write it in a compelling way.   If he or she does that, believe me…listeners will listen and readers will read.

My current Isolation book is “The Fringes of Power.  10 Downing Street Diaries 1939-1955.”   It’s written by John Colville who was Private Secretary to Winston Churchill during the war years.  He’s mentioned prominently in the book I wrote you about a couple weeks ago, “The Splendid and The Vile.”  He credits Churchill with this quality:

 

He possessed, to an unusual degree, the ability to pick out quickly the main points in a complicated story.  He would read a long Cabinet Paper and pick out one or two aspects of the case, frequently those that did not seem the most important.  He would pursue them with vigor.

 

A genius is defined as someone who listened to what everyone in the room listened to but heard what no one else heard.  OMG, if I could teach a listener how to pick out the salient points in an otherwise difficult-to-follow message…that is a listening skills workshop I would gladly take and start to teach.  The title would be “Listening Like A Genius.”    I would’ve loved taking that class from Churchill.

 

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