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Have you ever had a conversation with friend of a friend where you asked all the questions, and they provided all the answers. And the next day your friend tells you how great of an impression you made on their friend. And you think, wow, they made very little impression on me. This is because your focus was on being interested, and their focus was on being interesting.

We’ve heard it before – good listeners are a rarity. But we often don’t stop to consider just how important genuine listening is. As adults we’re all stumbling about, struggling to connect, because conversational competence is the single most important skill we have failed to teach our children.

We’re showing up to conversations to defend our ideas, not discuss them. And when we do listen, our intent is to reply, not understand. This is why we’re blown away by people who genuinely listen to what we have to say.

Remember, people don’t care for your off-grid travel plans, or where you get your ink done, unless you are prepared to listen first. So, ask questions, and plenty of them. Not formulaic, pre-planned questions, but questions that arise from the answers you get. And if you feel yourself getting bored, be accountable and ask better questions. Everyone can teach you something, so set out to be amazed by others and you won’t be disappointed.