Tuning in to what is being said is a skill that can be developed if you apply yourself. There are specific techniques that, when applied, help to key in to important ideas and find the heart of the topic. Here at Tuned In Design we have lots of experience and training on how to be a good listener.
One thing we have found is that many people spend their time thinking about what they are going to say next rather than focusing on what the speaker is saying. This can lead to miscommunication, inefficient meetings, and frustration. When we are in conversation it is very important to pay close attention, take notes, ask for clarification, and discuss followup plans or tasks.
This article expands on these ideas and describes some important listening techniques – 5 Skills of really Great Listeners .