5 Listening Diseases and the Cure

5 Listening Diseases and the Cure

  1. Interruptitis
  2. Interrogationitis
  3. Premature Solutioneering
  4. TAABB
  5. Question Absenteeism

Have you ever been infected? All of us have been from time to time, we take a cure, but the disease is virulent and will return. Follow these tips to ensure you incubate yourself from all five in the future.


My daughter, who is now 18, was inflicted with this in her early years. Kept interrupting her mother at the dinner table, until she was told to stop disrupting. Meanwhile, her brain was not listening but storing up her next question or statement for when her mother stopped taking.

I’ve seen salespeople influenced by this one since they’ve heard the same story over and over again, know all the answers, so just interrupt the customer before they’ve stopped talking. Take a mental pause and wait – ask yourself – why am I talking? Wait.


Many years’ ago I remember a first date I had and my keenness to get on and impress my new girlfriend. So keen was I that I asked her lots of questions. One after the other. Accused of interrogation, we never progressed to a second date, and since then I learnt how to stop interrogating with questions. Sugarcoating questions and chipping in with murmurings and snippets of words just to keep them talking. Verbal and non-verbal “nods” can keep the conversation going rather than endless questioning.

Premature Solutioneering

Closely affiliated to interruptitis with similar symptoms except this one lets you finish their sentence. You’re inclined to come in with your pre-prepared solution because you’ve heard the answer before. Let the client fully finish and explore further before you solve. Hold back your solution until you know for certain what the answer is.


There’s always a bigger boat. Mines bigger than yours syndrome. You hear the person talking about their achievement, adventure or goal accomplishment, and you can’t help yourself chipping in with your version which is bigger, shinier and altogether superior to theirs. There’s always a bigger boat – TAABB.

An awful infliction, you really need to stop this now.

Question Absenteeism

My partner and I have enjoyed various dinner party guests of late, and some make us chuckle. Did they find out about her and me? No, they didn’t ask any questions at all. A guest, after about three hours into our barbeque, actually asked: “So Paul, what do you do for a living?” Before I could graciously answer, he continued to talk to me about his foreign business trips. I smiled politely.

Five diseases. You may recall having caught one or two. Remember to take the medicine, that Doctor Paul has prescribed; you’ll be fine in the morning.