In order for us to hold our own and to function effectively in today's society we are required to communicate and that involves conversing a lot in both social and business settings -- endless meetings, encounters and conversations. A common perception is that it is not necessarily what you say that matters, but how forceful and glib you were in saying it.
How often have you been involved in a conversation and felt that the other party(s) was not really listening to you? How often have you thought that the point you were trying to make really did not sink in and you wonder after-the-fact how you could have made more impact and held the interest of your listener(s)?
My take is that frequently, we all generally find ourselves thinking more about what we are going to say next in a conversation, than about whatever someone else has just said, losing sight of the fact that we may be giving the impression of disinterest.
I honestly think that listening is a lost art today, but if we want to make progress in sensitive situations we should do less talking and more undivided, wholehearted listening. To my mind, it is a common courtesy too.
We can fulfill a natural self-serving impulse to be clever and dominate in our conversations, but not at the expense of the necessity to listen and to be seen as a genuinely attentive listener.