“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
– Dalai Lama
Steve Jobs was well-known at Apple for his “walking meetings” — these weren’t just casual strolls around the Apple campus but intense brainstorming sessions.
In the early 2000s, Tony Fadell, one of the brains behind the iPod, often found himself on “Steve’s walks” with Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs.
One day, with the success of the iPod still fresh and the pressure for a new hit mounting, Fadell braced himself for a flurry of ideas from Jobs. Instead, Jobs posed questions and listened—really listened. He’d probe, pause, and reflect, sifting through each idea presented.
These deep-listening sessions were instrumental in distilling the concepts that eventually shaped the iPhone.
Listening to others isn’t just a practice in empathy — it’s also learning. Because when we listen, think about what we’ve heard, and ask follow-up questions, we’re engaged in the natural process of discovery. When we listen, every conversation is an opportunity to learn (and to show love).
But listening isn’t always easy — the voices in our head are often far louder than the voices of those right in front of us.
So do like Steve (or Obama)…
Go for a walk if you want to have a meaningful and productive conversation with someone — research shows that walking while you talk gets the blood flowing, increases creativity, and even makes you more open and empathetic.
It’s a simple strategy for better conversations.