In conversation, there are two ways to listen.
Listen to respond – Hear the words, recall your own experience, plan your story, and jump in when you can.
Listen to learn – Hear the words, visualize what they are telling you, and ask questions to seek understanding.
Both ways have their place. Sometimes, in the same conversation.
It turns out though, the learning way is always better.
It takes a generous effort to use these appropriately. Empathy is the key.