During the coming ICANN meeting, I am going to take a different tack with my listening style. Usually in these settings, I am listening to understand a) if I agree with a person, b) if they are lying to me, c) if they are trying manipulate me, d) if they are trying to confuse me, or e) if they are trying to twist my words to their advantage, and so on.

This requires a lot of energy, most of it negative. Despite the fact that my skills in listening in these styles has prevented me from being a complete political victim (I’m batting about .500) I don’t think that the results are really worth expending that much negative energy anymore. Why should I get my wires all crossed up just to stay one step ahead of a paid lobbyist that doesn’t even care what they are saying so long as it helps their client.

So, this coming week, I am going to try to practice the principles of charitable listening which rest on the following four pillars:

  • The other uses words in the ordinary way;
  • The other makes true statements;
  • The other makes valid arguments;
  • The other says something interesting.

It will be interesting to see how far I get with this. There’s more on this subject over at Wikipedia of course. Wish me luck