Yesterday, Toddy from St. Pete reminded me of a very real danger in listening -- we often focus more on what our response will be, than on what the other person is saying.
When I was a new reporter, I approached each interview with a list of questions. I eagerly waited for the person to stop talking, so I could check off a question, and move on down my list.
I was young. It's my only excuse.
Fortunately, I grew up quickly (radio news will do that to a person) and discovered that the best questions were the ones that came naturally -- the "follow-up" question, based on what the person being interviewed had just said. The best question could be as simple as, "Why do you say that?" or "Can you give me an example?" or "I'm not sure I understand -- can you explain it again?"
Today's advice? Forget your list. And listen.