I have been accused that I am not a good listener.
They’ve said because I can’t remember what someone said days, weeks or months ago, that I wasn’t really listening at the time.
I would have to disagree.
I’m a great listener.
When I’m having a conversation with someone, I’m into the conversation. I’m engaged. I’m responsive.
But after our conversation, I couldn’t remember half of what we talked about.
So I don’t have a listening problem. I have a remembering problem.
According to Dictionary.com, listening means “to give attention with the ear, to pay attention or to wait attentively for a sound.”
Whereas remembering means “to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory, think of again, to retain in the memory, keep in mind or remain aware of.”
When I am having a conversation, I give all my attention to that person. One might say I’m a pretty decent conversationalist.
But I’m a horrible rememberer.
One would think that would make me a bad journalist.
Hence why I’m always carrying around a pen and piece of paper. That’s why we take notes when we do interviews. And it’s the reason one of the first “journalist” tools I bought was a tape recorder.
If I wasn’t able to write things down, I’d be in real trouble. But instead, I always have notes and recordings to play back to fill in the holes. And when it’s my job, I seem to remember things quite well.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I can’t remember anything. It’s just that I can’t remember everything.
I feel like maybe I have a finite space in my memory and most of the free space is being used up quickly.
I think sometimes it’s worse when I’m talking to someone I converse with often, like my girlfriend. She doesn’t think I listen to her. She doesn’t know I listen to everything, I just don’t remember it all.
Perhaps it’s genetics. Or maybe I’ve used all my memory during my day as a reporter.
I don’t know what the answer is.
But what I do know is I’m a fantastic listener.
And that will never change.