The Art of Listening in IT and Why It’s Key for Innovation

In his 2011 TED Talk, communication expert Julian Treasure pointed out that “we are losing our listening.”  In a cacophonous world filled with stimuli, he points out how hard it’s become to actually listen to one another.

There is no doubt that in the 21st century humans face challenges when it comes to listening – especially in today’s wired world of work. Organizational listening is an art and can be especially challenging for technology-centric teams when it’s critical to listen to customers and stakeholders.

In his Ted Talk, Treasure provides strategies for improving individual listening skills.  And put into an IT organizational context, they gain alternative meaning:

  • Enjoy The Silence” – Sometimes just a few minutes of silence is all we need to reset our ears. There are certainly times when an organization can benefit from this kind of focus and recalibration.
  • Change The Mix” – Focusing on all the different channels of sound you can hear is another way to improve our listening skills.  In an organization, a real inventory of feedback channels with stakeholders is an important way to understand to whom and how we should listen.
  • Savor The Mundane” – Even the most banal sounds can be multi-faceted and inspirational.  In IT organizations, sometimes the most commonplace customer use cases can lead to the most significant innovations.
  • Change Your Position” – Possibly the most important human approach to listening is to understand how listening posture changes the communication dynamic.  Technology organizations have been experimenting with different listening models for years, and have arrived at a hybrid approach to gathering customer feedback.
The Art of Listening in IT

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In our next episode of The Hybrid IT Files, we’re going to take a closer look at some of these hybrid listening models that IT organizations use and discuss how the very act of listening is an underappreciated yet an essential technology skill especially for innovation.

Our guests for this episode include Lauren Cooney of Cisco and Ed Bender from Fastly, joining us from different parts of the high-tech world, and they’ll both bring their unique perspectives on how they’ve seen listening skills evolving at an Enterprise IT level.

Join us on Thursday, July 30th at 9AM Pacific where you can take part in the conversation so be sure to visit The Hybrid IT Files chat page to save the time to your calendar.

Find out what conclusions we reach in our conversation. Meanwhile, Treasure posits that societal improvement in listening skills leads to increased empathy, deeper understanding, and even world peace. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.  I’d have to go back and watch the TED talk again. I was on two conference calls, IM-ing with eighteen different people, and writing this blog post while I was trying to listen…

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