Who’s on First; Are You Listening?

The world witnessed a classic World Series; it is historic.  Two great teams battled before a world audience.  Players put on display their athletic talents while team leaders showcased their managerial skills and strategy.  Game seven will be remembered for years to come, and the excitement is that it has and will continue to influence many generations.

One aspect of the game of baseball that is truly intriguing is communication.  Players need to talk to each other on the field to successfully execute a play.  The manager and coaches are continually sending signals to players on what to do and ultimately to perform so that the strategy communicated results in positive results.


All organizations need to communicate successfully.  It can be leadership making major announcements for all to hear.  It can be one on one dialogue between two colleagues.  Since baseball is a point of discussion here, the famous Who’s on First dialogue between Bud Abbott and Lou Costello comes to mind.  It too is a classic, first performed by this historic entertaining duo in 1953.  Of course, it is a humorous skit.  But it has important lessons that can learn regarding the art of listening and speaking.

I highly suggest that you go to YouTube and enjoy the skit if you have never heard it before or listen to it again.  Now listen to Who’s on First from a leader’s standpoint. brains-communicating

Of course, communication is a two-way street.  The effective interface does not take place without proper speaking and excellent leading.  Where are you in your abilities as both a great communicator and a superb listener:  Consider the following checklist, and answer yes or no:

  1. As a speaker, do you make an effort to be sure your listener(s) understands what you are communicating?
  2. As a speaker, do you stop periodically to ask questions to be sure your listener is on track?
  3. As a listener, do you ask proper clarifying questions to the speaker to be sure each of you is in sync with what is being communicated?
  4. As a listener, are you listening to all that is being spoken or are you only engaged in selective hearing, hearing words that you want to hear?
  5. As a listener, do you become irritated and then shut out effective listening and misconstrue what is being verbalized?
  6. Are you a good speaker?
  7. Are you a good listener?