Halloween Special: Four Kinds of Scary Listeners

On this Halloween—or any average workday—you may encounter some ghoulish listening practices. While you may not be able to trick bad listeners out of their ghastly habits, you can always treat your own conversation partners by giving them your focus and empathy. The Smartphone Vampire Blackberry may be losing market share, but the proliferation of … Continue reading Halloween Special: Four Kinds of Scary Listeners

Listening when their talking style triggers “fight or flight”

The Harvard Business Review Blog recently had a great post titled How to Listen When Your Communication Styles Don't Match. I am so grateful to the Legal Skills Prof Blog for bringing this post to my attention here. The HBR post is based on the work of Mark Goulston in his book Just Listen. Goulston outlines two scenarios: … Continue reading Listening when their talking style triggers “fight or flight”

Lawyers and biased listening (part 3)

Perception and decision-making are vulnerable to cognitive biases. Decisions based on listening are at least as vulnerable to bias as other forms of decision-making, if not more so. Previous posts in this series (here and here) have outlined the vulnerability of listening to bias and have addressed some of the most common cognitive biases. This … Continue reading Lawyers and biased listening (part 3)

What the rainmakers say about listening

When I talk to professional firms about developing their client relations skills and we go through the list of skills they could acquire or refine, most of them do not consider the skill of listening to very sexy, attractive, or even interesting. And yet, ironically, the most powerful, capable rainmakers in significant firms who have … Continue reading What the rainmakers say about listening

Lawyers and biased listening (part 2)

Reducing bias in listening is important yet difficult, as discussed in the first post on listening and cognitive bias. This post explores some of the most well-known cognitive biases and how they may impact lawyers’ listening, with some suggested solutions from the cognitive-bias literature. The halo effect Kahneman introduces Thinking, Fast and Slow with one … Continue reading Lawyers and biased listening (part 2)

Lawyers and biased listening (part 1)

Malcolm Gladwell has suggested that gifted listening means listening without bias. If that is the case, then to be better listeners, lawyers should simply eliminate their biases, right? Reducing bias turns out to be easy to say and very hard to do. This post explores some basics of how bias works, and introduces why decision-making … Continue reading Lawyers and biased listening (part 1)

The listening technique that worked for me in law school

Taking good notes is a listening challenge. As a first-year law student, I started out with a "leave no statement behind" mentality, attempting to write everything down. As my legal knowledge evolved, my note-taking technique evolved as well. I began using a label in my notes, "Professor Says." This label helped me to distinguish general … Continue reading The listening technique that worked for me in law school

Listening to yourself speak

With the beginning of the new Supreme Court term and the opening of moot court season in law schools, this is an opportune time to study techniques for listening to yourself. By recording yourself giving a practice speech or oral argument and then studying the tape, you can greatly improve your effectiveness as a speaker. … Continue reading Listening to yourself speak