Remembering how to listen as a tech community

Remembering To Listen

Have you ever talked to someone who’s not listening to you?

They might be listening but only halfway. You ask them a question and have to repeat it many times. In the middle of your sentence they comment on something that’s happening on their phone.

They might ask you a question but jump in before you finish. Or follow-up your story with their own story without replying to anything you said.

It’s cool don’t worry if you don’t want to listen that’s fine. Just be honest about it. Act like your not listening. Better yet tell me that you’re not going to listen so that I can adjust.

Conversations, especially about heated topics, often form a rhythm of back and forth speaking. Each person starting a point just before the other has ended his or her point. I’m sure you’ll recognize this pattern in yourself if you think about it. Before whoever is speaking has finished, you’ve already formulated your response. You just can’t wait to spit it out.

Next time you find yourself in a conversation like this, slow down. Force yourself to listen to the words you’re hearing.

Sometimes I feel that programmers forget how to listen. We’ve spent so much time being told what to build that we forget why.

We can change. We can help build applications that really help others. We can build features for users that put a smile on their face. We can take honest feedback an improve.

Being a software developer is tricky business.

The world has so many problems that we can help solve. Our software can move from nice to have to need to have with a little more empathy.

I just hope we are remembering how to listen as a tech community. Because typically we’re creating tools for other people.

When was the last time you found yourself not listening?

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