Merge's Blog

Good listening: it’s about staying “checked-in”

Interesting fact: people speak anywhere from 120-300 words per minute.

Even more interesting fact: the human brain is capable of processing information anywhere from 600-2,000 words per minute.

EarSo no matter which end of the range you select, when someone else is talking, your brain can process information about 2-7 times faster than the other person can speak.  Which suggests that while you’re participating in a conversation, you have a lot of free time! 😀  As funny as that sounds, this explains why our minds tend to wander — it’s because people can’t speak fast enough to keep our minds occupied.  I call this phenomenon “checking in and checking out.”  It’s what our brains do under normal circumstances — we “check in”, listen to a portion of the conversation, and then “check out” and go somewhere else.  We then return frequently, doing the same thing each time.  And in most situations, this constant checking-in/checking-out gives us sufficient knowledge of the topic being discussed so that we can actually participate intelligently.  However, there are times when it is essential to stay more “checked-in,” such as when the topic is important, or complicated, or tied to personal or professional goals. In future blog posts, I’ll offer some specific ideas on HOW to stay checked in.  But for now, I have a question:

What situations (personal or professional) can you think of where it is absolutely critical to stay “checked-in”?

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