When it comes to listening, not all of what you hear is created equal. You’ll get facts, feelings, details, concepts.

And then – if you’re really dialed in – you’ll hear something different. It won’t be the words. It may not even exactly be the body language that accompanies the words. But in the middle of all of the words, you’ll sense that what’s being said right now is important. Your antennae go straight up.

My friend, Eugenio, calls these moments “pings.” Like a sonar signal coming at you from the deep, you notice that there is a different weight, a different energy to a comment.

Pings are a signal to any listener to slow down. To breathe. To carefully ask a follow-up question that goes deeper. If you can’t think of anything better, you can always say, “Tell me more about that…”

And don’t miss this. Our colleagues will send out little pings to test us as listeners, sometimes unconsciously. “Are they really tuned into me? Do they really care? I’ll give them a little breadcrumb and see if they pick it up…”

Pro listeners know that. They treat pings carefully, respectfully. But they pay attention to them. It’s another way you can use listening to show a colleague that you have their back.

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