What's Your Listening Speed? (Dedicated to SXSW)

This past weekend, I took my first speed-reading class (it was awesome; I'm blazing through Switch).

But one of our exercises made me think of everyone at SXSW. It made me wonder: What's your listening speed?

Read vs. Speak

One of our first exercises was to record how many words we could read in one minute. Afterward, we counted the lines and got our words per minute (WPM). Then, we spoke the same passage again to determine how many words we spoke per minute.

I can't recall why we did this; honestly, it's not important. What I do remember is that our instructor asked us to compare these two tallies - which did we do faster: read or speak.

Almost everyone in the room (in downtown Chicago) read faster than they spoke. The instructor laughed and said that in New York - and only New York - people almost always spoke faster than they read. Midwesterners almost never did.

A-Types In Austin

For some reason, this comment made me think about SXSW. Austin is full of A-type personalities (in the best ways possible), buzzing about fully immersed in live music, social media, and various nerditry.

There's talking, blogging, reading, all types of communicating - and that is wonderful. I'm totally jealous.

But I hope everyone is remembering to listen too. (I know you are - I'm sure you're full up on knowledge and ready to burst.)

We don't have a way to measure listening - no WPM here. But, I am hoping that while New Yorkers are good at talking, Midwesterners are good at reading, I hope the SXSWers are practicing their listening.

I hope so because they'll need to spend the rest of their year telling us about what they learned. I can't wait!

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(Image courtesy of ky olsen via Flickr)