The Power of Active Listening4 min read

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I’m pretty excited to bring you guys a video / article this week. Consume the content how feel most comfortable. The text is, for the most part, the video transcript.

Let’s talk about active listening

All right guys, let’s talk active listening. Active listening has got to be one of the most underutilized skills in the world today. We have ears that give us the ability to hear, but that does not mean that we’re truly listening. My grandmother once said to me,

“You have two ears one mouth, use them proportionately.”

Somehow I think this was her polite way of telling me to shut up and listen more.

What do you think?

But her point was valid. We should listen more than we talk. Again, having ears gives you the ability to hear, but that does not mean that you are a good listener. There is a difference between hearing and listening.

Active listening involves understanding the underlying message that someone is attempting to deliver. Oftentimes there is more to what someone is saying, than the words that they actually speak. People want to be heard and understood.

The best example I’ve ever seen of active versus passive listening is the PlayStation versus Xbox episode of The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon Cooper, a physicist, is having dinner with his girlfriend, Amy, a neurology. Now imagine the conversations these two must have.

Sheldon begins discussing, each gaming console. Amy appears, disinterested. But she’s trying to be supportive. She hears Sheldon, but she’s not truly listening to him. Sheldon notices and reacts. During the conversation, she moves from passive listening to active listening. When she does, Sheldon notices. Check out the way he lights up when he truly recognizes that he’s being listened to versus just being heard.

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Here’s the first part of the dialog. To truly appreciate it, I would suggest watching the video.

Sheldon: First there was PlayStation, aka PS1. Then there’s PS2, PS3, and now PS4. And that makes sense. You’d think after Xbox, there’d be Xbox two. But no, next came, Xbox 360. And now after 360, comes Xbox One. Why one? Maybe that’s how many seconds of thought we put in the naming it.

Amy: Can you get the butter, please.

Sheldon: Yep. However, with the Xbox One I can control my entire entertainment system using voice commands. Up until now, I’ve had to use Leonard.

Amy: Then get the other one. Pass the butter.

Sheldon: Hang on. I don’t feel like you’re taking this dilemma seriously.


What do you guys think? Is she taking this dilemma seriously? Is it truly a dilemma? That really doesn’t matter. Sheldon did not believe she was taking it seriously because she was simply a passive listener. Now watch what happens.


Amy : Fine Sheldon, you have my undivided attention.

Sheldon: Okay. Now the PS4 is more angular and sleek looking.

Amy: No way.

Sheldon: It’s true. But the larger size of the Xbox One may keep it from overheating.

Amy: You wouldn’t want your gaming system to overheat.

Sheldon: You absolutely would not. And then furthermore, the Xbox One now comes with a connect included.

Amy: Included?

Sheldon: Not sold separately. Although the PS4 uses cool new GDDR five RAM, while the Xbox One is still using the conventional DDR3 memory.

Amy: Why would they still be using DDR3, are they nuts?

Sheldon: That’s what I thought. But then they go and throw in an EAS ram buffer.

Amy: Wait a second. Who is they?

Sheldon: The Xbox.

Amy: Your kidding?

Sheldon: No. The ES RAM buffer should totally bridge at the 100 gigabit per second bandwidth gap between the two ram types.

Amy: This is a nightmare. How will you ever make a decision?

Sheldon: I don’t know. What should I do?

Amy: Please pass the butter.


This is the power of active listening. It can make someone’s day brighter. But it’s hard. We have to work at it. It really is hard.

So tell me, whose day will you make brighter today by being an active listener?

I’m Robert berry I’m your resident writer, keynote speaker, and trainer. I specialize in technical and some non technical topics for business professionals and auditors. My primary purpose is to improve people, processes and profits.

Want to improve your active listening? You’re in the right place. Check out my keynotes and workshops. Are you an auditor? Check my virtual training schedule. The course Active Listening for Auditors is always in rotation. Sign up for my newsletter below.

If you’d like to know more, check out my website thatauditguy.com.


While you’re here, pick up something nice from our audit store.

Robert Berry (102)

Robert (That Audit Guy) Berry is a risk, compliance and auditing advocate, educator and innovator. He helps good professionals become better by creating articles, web services and training that allow them to expand their knowledge network.

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