Do you know how to listen?  I think I do.  I put down my preconceptions about what is right or fair, and I open up to another person’s point of view.  I listen not only to their words, but their context.  I repeat what I hear to make sure that I’m getting it.  It’s a skill, and as an EA, its darn useful.

Not everyone knows how or when to listen.  Sometimes I forget to listen, too.  It is the most unpleasent experience when I am called upon to observe but have forgotten to listen, because I cannot.  I must either check out and ignore the conversation, or butt in and dominate it.  I have done this at times, and it is frustrating for me, and for everyone else in the room.  I look back on the times when I could not listen and I am not proud of them.

How do I know when I am not listening?  Honestly?  It’s when I am talking.


By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

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