Before leading my workshop the first afternoon of the Social Media Strategies Summit, I participated in the day’s earlier workshops. This is something I try to do whenever I’m speaking at an event. Doing this provides new ideas, reference points, and potentially frees up topics I needn’t address as completely because an earlier speaker has covered them.

During these workshops, for whatever reason, I found myself thinking about how I process information shared during conference presentations. I began jotting down the strategic thinking questions (below) I was asking myself. It struck me that these questions tie to integrated listening. Whether the speaker’s topic is familiar or unfamiliar, and whether the speaker’s perspective agrees or disagrees with my own, I’m looking for what to incorporate from the material to adapt my perspective.

5 Strategic Thinking Questions for Integrated Listening

Within an integrated listening objective, these strategic thinking questions are ones that run through my head during a presentation:

  1. What of this material agrees with my world view?
  2. What parts challenge or contradict my world view?
  3. In what ways does this content enrich my current understanding?
  4. What should I consider doing differently (whether that’s doing something new, stopping something, or altering a current practice) based on this presentation?
  5. What are the parts of this material I don’t understand? If so, why is that?

These questions work, at least for me, to stay open to new information without completely abandoning what I think in favor of too eagerly embracing an expert’s point of view during a presentation.  – Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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2 Responses to “5 Strategic Thinking Questions for Integrated Listening”

  1. John Bennett says:

    A few thoughts:
    (1) Question #3 sort of touches it; but I’d add another question: “6. What of this material never occurred to me might be adaptable to other topics of interest to me?” I can’t believe I’m alone in frequently finding a presentation (some times simply to “fill” an opening) has greater interest than anticipated because of its adaptability to some other interest of mine.

    (2) I believe keeping these questions in mind while listening is important. But I’m not sure I’ll see any more that possible / probable links that I need to put in my notes for later consideration – including the notion raised in (1) above. WHAT INTEGRATIVE LISTENING (love the phrase!!) does enable is better questions of the speaker!!!

    (3) I mentioned above “consideration.” Indeed, this is what’s needed after the presentation, maybe over lunch or after sessions end while still at the conference (most fresh in our minds, maybe can catch the presenter at the conference…). I sporadically post to my “Considerations” blog (http://johncbennettjr.com ), devoted to tips and applications of considering as I define and apply it myself.

  2. Mike Brown says:

    Great additions, John. What I’ve been doing for a number of years now is typically keeping two sets of notes at a conference. One set is chronological and focuses on what the speaker is saying. In recent years, these notes typically are shared via my Twitter feed.

    The other set of notes (which doesn’t show up on Twitter) includes the ideas and possibilities the presenter’s content triggers for me. Some of those are about how to present; some of them are related to things to do or not do other than speaking items. While I’m pretty comprehensive on the chronological notes, the ideas/possibilities notes only represent what the speaker triggers for me. It’s always fascinating to go back through my notes after a conference and see who the most productive speakers were based on THIS set of notes.