WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: Deep Listening by Oscar Trimboli

This book was written in 2017, but a colleague recommended it to me, so I bought a copy. It’s a short and easy to read book, with the most beautiful illustrations and lots of excellent advice about how to listen deeply.

I wholeheartedly agree with one of the first paragraphs in the preface to the book, and this is probably even more true today than it was 6 years ago: “Our ability to broadcast messages has exponentially increased, yet it has dramatically reduced our ability to understand and communicate what is being said in a way that creates progress.”

The fundamental premise of the book is that we don’t become better listeners by learning and practicing elaborative techniques, tools or devices. Rather, we just need to learn to be more present.

Trimboli introduces four types of (poor) listeners: lost, interrupting, shrewd and dramatic. I’m sure we all fall under one of those at different times. He also sets out some essential levels of listening: listening to yourself, listening to the content, listening to the context, listening to what’s unsaid, and listening for the meaning. Trimboli notes that “listening” is not just about hearing, but that it includes presence, respect, focus, feelings and observing.

I really like these four questions he suggests:

1. How long have you been thinking about this?
2. What else are you thinking about?
3. What’s different about your thinking since we started discussing this?
4. What is it that you haven’t said?

These are terrific coaching questions, but also useful in everyday conversation to build deeper understanding and connection.

This is a lovely book, and very affordable. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to develop their capacity to listen more deeply.

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