Encourage others to talk. In personal conversation or in group meetings, draw out people with little urges, such as “Tell me about your experience….” or “What do you think should be done about…?” or “What do you think is the key point?” Encourage others to talk, and you win a double-barreled victory: your mind soaks up raw material that you can use to produce creative thought, and you win friends. There is no surer way to get people to like you than to encourage them to talk to you.
Test your own views in the form of questions. Let other people help you smooth and polish your ideas. Use the what-do-you-think-of-this-suggestion? approach. Don’t be dogmatic. Don’t announce a fresh idea as if it were handed down on a gold tablet. Do a little informal research first. See how your associates react to it. If you do, chances are you’ll end up with a better idea.
Concentrate on what the other person says. Listening is more than just keeping your own mouth shut. Listening means letting what’s said penetrate your mind. So often people pretend to listen when they aren’t listening at all. They’re just waiting for the other person to pause so they can take over with the talking. Concentrate on what the other person says. Evaluate it. That’s how you collect mind food.