Notes from the ‘The Art of Listening’ and various online meetings and webinars we have attended.

(Disclaimer: To be clear, we are sharing this article not because we are skilled at listening, in fact it is the complete opposite, we are terrible at it, and hence it is the very first book we read together in the Book Club to improve ourselves in this area. We believe if we do not know something that is viable in tackling our shared Climate Emergency we then have the responsibility to educate ourselves about it.)


We, the members of‘s book club, are diving into the world of Self-Directed Learning (SDL) with a focus on the ‘Art of Listening’ from a book authored by a world-renowned hostage negotiator.

In many (not all), skilled listening is directly connected to increased persuasion. For example as a hostage negotiator, it means not only rescuing the hostages, but also ensuring the safety of everyone involved. Intently listening can also greatly strengthen relationships, leading to better cooperation and collaboration within groups.

Also, the content shared here is also drawing from our experiences in attending various online climate discussions, so we have gathered all the important points (notes) to share which include but are not limited to:

Listen attentively without planning your response while the other person is speaking. Take a moment after they finish talking to craft a thoughtful reply. Do not listen with a reply already mind, fully hear them out first.

Maintain eye contact with your audience. While you can glance at your notes or materials, make sure to look into the eyes of your listeners to connect with them.

Encourage engagement by asking for responses in the chat or verbally. For instance, have the audience type ‘yes’ or respond verbally to create a participative environment.

Always include stories or experiences that highlight the key points being discussed. A short story can lift the spirits of the listeners and offer hope and encouragement.

Incorporate quotes or words of encouragement from respected leaders and mentors in history who embody integrity, morality, and humanistic values.

Introduce humor, especially at the beginning, to relax the audience. This can be in the form of a story, a brief self-introduction, or even a funny media clip.

Don’t be overly concerned about what others think. Focusing too much on pleasing everyone can detract from the intended message. Progress requires courage to move forward despite differing opinions.

Always allocate time for a question and answer session at the end. Be well-prepared and confident in your presentation to avoid disappointing the audience. This is especially important, as lack of thorough preparation can be evident, as often seen in political speeches.

Understand your audience’s current events or emotions, and address them with sensitivity. Finding common ground helps the audience relax and connect with each other.

If Nervous, use this anxious energy to dynamically improve your content, in fact it has been known to serve as a factor in many truly successful discourses. The names escapes me however there is an excellent TED Talk that covers this point in great detail.

In regard to being an active and intense listener here are some tips from the audience or listeners point of view:

Non-verbal cues: Pay attention to the speaker’s body language and facial expressions to better understand their emotions and intentions. This can provide valuable insights beyond what is being said.

Empathetic listening: Show empathy by acknowledging the speaker’s feelings and demonstrating understanding, without immediately offering solutions or advice.

Summarize and reflect: Periodically summarize what the speaker has said and reflect it back to them to ensure understanding and convey that their words are being valued.

Open-ended questions: Use open-ended questions to encourage the speaker to share more details and express their thoughts and feelings more freely.

Mindful silence: Embrace moments of silence to allow the speaker to gather their thoughts and express themselves fully. Avoid rushing to fill every pause with your own words.

Avoid interruptions: Refrain from interrupting the speaker, and allow them to complete their thoughts before responding.

These are some of the key points I wanted to share. Now, let’s explore a few additional tips with the help of AI. [User prompt: AI will provide additional points here.]

Here are some additional points generated by AI for those preparing to give a lecture, speech or to consider in moments of intense dialogue (…remember this applies to both listener and speaker):

1. Active listening techniques: Pay attention the importance of active listening, which involves fully concentrating, understanding, responding, and remembering what is being said, asked or hinted.

2. Emotional intelligence: Highlight the role of emotional intelligence in effective listening, emphasizing the need to recognize and understand the emotions conveyed by the speaker or audience (especially in one-on-one dialogue as well).

3. Cultural sensitivity: Address the significance of being culturally sensitive in listening, acknowledging and respecting diverse cultural perspectives and communication styles.

4. Non-judgmental attitude: Emphasize the value of maintaining a non-judgmental attitude while listening, allowing the speaker or listener to express themselves without fear of criticism.

5. Feedback: Discuss the importance of providing constructive feedback to the speaker or listener, demonstrating understanding and offering supportive input.

6. Mindfulness: Explore the concept of mindfulness in listening, encouraging the practice of being fully present and attentive during conversations.

7. Conflict resolution: Touch upon how effective listening can contribute to resolving conflicts by fostering understanding and empathy.

These additional details can enhance the depth and comprehensiveness of the discourse and even when posting content on social media and blogs, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the ‘Art of Listening.’

Back to cCc: On a side note two other points that are important is to know your environment as you would not go into a boxing match with the intent of also offering your opponent a chance to buy flowers that you sell as a side business or even speaking to a group of fans of the NY Yankees about how awesome the Mets are. Feel me?

Also please know what you are talking about, meaning be fully prepared if you are giving a lecture or speech. You want to have confidence and composure when you are relaying information, giving a speech and especially in a one-on-one discourse. Knowing the subject gives you the edge of complete confidence.

It’s important to note that there are more detailed aspects in the book that I have not covered here. As we continue to explore this topic in the future, we’ll include more insights especially when the dialogue is heated, drama-filled or combative (we haven’t reached this part of the book yet our rereading it).

On a personal note, I am sharing this based on my own extensive reading of the book and the valuable tips from the webinars and online meetings I have attended.

Best regards,

cCc’s Book Club!