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December 01, 2005

Bad Listener

I am working on it. I am getting better. But as a type-A first-born child who became a litigator, I have a horde of mostly lame excuses for being a less-than-perfect listener. First, there's an adage that first-born children--who by my informal polls eerily dominate the legal profession--are "taught to talk", while later-born children are taught to listen. Certainly, in my own family, that's true; my younger brother and sister are clearly better listeners. Second, as a lawyer who deals in all manner of regulatory and commercial disputes, I'm combative and opinionated in my professional life. And I'm reactive and always ready to to make things, even playfully, "all about me", in my personal life.

When all this kicks in at once, the Enemy is Me. Lapsing into wired self-centeredness is a good way to miss everything being communicated by other humans. You don't hear. So I am working on it. It's important to clients and everyone in my life that I process what's really going on around me. Chicago-based trial lawyer and well-known blogger Patrick Lamb, citing Kane and Foonberg, has thoughtful things to say about listening skills in this recent post.

Posted by JD Hull at December 1, 2005 08:01 AM


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