How long do you listen?

I make it a habit of spending time with people smarter than I am.¬† This past year I went to see a neuropsychologist named Tim Royer talk and within a few seconds I knew I was in the right place. ūüôā

He shared a startling fact:  On average, doctors diagnosing a brain disorder (ADD, ADHD, Depression, etc.) spent just under 7 minutes with their patients before making the diagnosis?

Really?¬† I was actually relieved because the other statistic I knew from a study was that when you visit the doctor’s¬†they spend an average of 23 seconds listening before making a diagnosis.¬†

Good news:  The brain is complex so physicians spend more time (maybe 18x) before diagnosing you. (assuming the 7 minutes is spent listening, questioning, and observing)

Bad news:  Is that really enough?  For an organ that has 10,000 miles of neurons, 20 terrabytes of storage, and consumes 80% of the energy your body produces Рis 7 minutes long enough?

People are complex.  Teams are complex.  How much time do you spend listening or trying to understand peers?  Your leader? People on your team?

Activity:  At your next staff meeting or one on one РKeep track of the following things: 

Number of questions you ask vs # of times you tell people something 

Time spent listening vs time spent  time talking (fyi:  doodling or answering texts is not actively listening)  

What does it tell you?