Quick: write down the names of the top three listeners you know.

Did you struggle? That’s because listening is a pretty rare skill these days.

But I’ll bet you know some really accomplished listeners. And yes, they come in all lines of work. I’ve known salespeople, doctors, lawyers, and teachers who were all excellent listeners. I’ll bet your list has a surprising diversity of background in it as well.

Here’s what they all have in common: they put all of themselves into their listening. Listening isn’t something they do on the side while they’re doing their “real work.” No, they focus. They dial in. They do more than shut up. They engage.

That’s because they see listening as part of their craft. They know it’s crucial to building great relationships. They know it’s one of the best ways to show you have someone’s back, to build a level of trust necessary for really creative work.

How about you? Have you committed to listening as part of your craft, as a key way you’ll make your contribution? If you have, you’ll be ready to practice. To experiment. To master. And that will make all the difference.

Be bright