Listen, Listen, Listen and Take Nano Notes



Job seekers and employees with talkative bosses and colleagues have several things in common: they become good listeners whether they want it or not, they learn to be short and to the point, and they carry note paper and a pen to all meetings.

Q: Why the paper and pen?

A: To take notes while trying not to drown in the oncoming flood of words.

Indeed, it seems that many interviews or managerial meetings turn partially or entirely into a one-sided monologue, a seemingly never-ending stream of words coming from the person in charge. I wonder, sometimes, if these people have never the opportunity to express themselves outside of these types of meetings.

We are supposed to be questioned about our job qualifications or the latest detailed sales data but here we sit, with a faint smile still plastered on our face, listening to unsolicited advice, old jokes, or unrelated and irrelevant information coming from the person

who should,


ask questions

and listen to our answers.

What to do if we have actually pertinent information to convey? Surely we can’t just sit there until quitting time without ever getting a word in sideways?

No, we mustn’t.

>>>> We take notes!

And, no, we don’t take notes of what we hear and probably already know. Instead, we scribble down words or nano sentences relating to the things we wish to say.

The problem with being immersed in someone else’s word stream is that our mind thinks of this and that, some relevant thoughts, some not, but as time passes our thoughts fade and when we get – finally – the opportunity to speak, we are at a loss because all the smart things we’ve been thinking about have deserted us.

Hence the notes.

Jotting down short links to our thoughts will allow us to retrieve them later.

We can also precipitate this “later” by raising a hand – just like we used to do at school – when we perceive a slowing in the talk. Often, this hand signal is still recognized as valid and we just might get to take our turn and tell what we had come to say.

But beware!

If we see the other person’s eyes adopting an absent look and if s/he starts taking notes, we know that…

it’s time to stop talking

and go back to listening.