How do we measure and practice full-value listening and curiosity? We can measure it scientifically based on behaviors: asking, listening, verifying assumptions, and getting confirmation on clarity.


Learning to practice curiosity helps you truly understand carefully what people want and need. This is an important skill not only in engineering but overall in problem solving and general, everyday living.

We put together this definition and measure of curiosity so that individuals can learn to recognize when they are being effective in practicing curiosity, and to recognize when other people are not practicing active listening for their personal benefit. This can be useful to research and differentiate the quality of teachers, educators, coaches, mentors, consultants, experts, and salespeople.

Detailed design

Chris Do (2023) talked about the hesitations and insecurities that introverts have when practicing sales. At the end of his 40-minute proposal for the Kind Way to Sell which is centered in serving customers and active listening, he recommended a question scorecard (37:48) to evaluate whether or not you as a salesperson have successfully practiced active listening.

In summary, throughout a conversation you may evaluate the curiosity of a listener by counting:

  1. How many times did a listener ask a question, rather than advise or give instructions?

  2. How many times did a listener practice active-listening, such as repeating what the other person said?

  3. How many times did a listener lay out an assumption ask to clarify something?

  4. How many times did a listener summarize and clarify something to gain more clarity?


  • Expensive: The skill of curiosity is a powerful tool for understanding, but is expensive in mental space, energy, and effort. Be discerning in where you offer and practice this tool so as not to be wasteful and ineffective.

  • Contextual: Not in every context does everybody have a lot of time to spend effort and energy to understand you.

    • Note however, that coaches, mentors, teachers, advisors, and consultants have an obligation to ensure that they understand you and your challenges carefully to be able to perform their duties.

  • Multi-tasking: This can be difficult to practice in real-time, while you are in the process of your conversation.

  • Not important: There can be valid reasons why curiosity has to take the backseat. For example, if a major red flag or your listener recognized something dangerous or unsafe and felt the urgency to raise this concern with you, they will not practice slow-paced curiosity led by your pace and thoughts. Instead, they will likely ask more directed questions to highlight the danger.


Instead of practicing this in a live conversation, you may:

  • Observe a conversation recorded on YouTube

  • Observe other people while they are in a conversation of their own

  • Observe teammates as they try to move a project forward and gain progress

  • Observe leaders when they are practicing leadership and management

While you are doing this as well, you may observe how you feel and how the audience feels while they are interacted with by both people who are practicing curiosity and not.

Unresolved questions

  • After being able to recognize people practicing curiosity and empathy, how do I learn to ask better questions?

  • How do I practice getting interested in what other people have to say?

Future possibilities intends to build training sandboxes where you can practice these skills rapidly to develop your literacy: recognition of its application and performance of the skill.


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