My dad used to tell me, “You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion.” I would always roll my eyes and get irritated when he pulled out that little gem, usually because he’d slap it on me when I was mid-sentence (and probably not doing a very good job listening). It was a gem, though, and as much as it pains me to tell him “FINE, YOU WERE RIGHT,” he was totally right.
Listening is VITAL.
And not just “hearing.” Hearing is a passive thing. LISTENING is something else entirely.
The third aspect of Active Listening is understanding what the speaker is saying, both what they are actually saying and what they are meaning to say (because those two things are often different).
For example. [You had to see this coming. The best way to learn is to hear a story about how someone else screwed it up, and as luck would have it I am a FIELD EXPERT in “screw up.” So here ya go.]
I really, really don’t like the word “comfortable.”