It all began with a request – one that made Dr. John G. Igwebuike chuckle.

He said, “Note the irony in the question, ‘Would you like to do a TEDx Talk on listening?’”

The Saint Ignatius College Prep Director of School Culture - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and founder of Guanacaste: The Transformational Listening Conference was “all in.” His presentation this spring followed much preparation that commenced when Dr. Juana Mendenhall, a professor of physical sciences at Morehouse College, invited him to speak. She heard Dr. John, as he is affectionately known on the Ignatius campus, give a talk at a Soft Skills for STEM workshop about the importance of soft skills and listening. Mendenhall, who holds a license at Morehouse to host TEDx Talks, invited Dr. John to join their conversation which featured multiple speakers. His gift to the discussion: the idea that active listening takes T-I-M-E. You have to Tune in, Interact to increase understanding, Make a deeper human connection and Enhance the relationship. 

This was Dr. John’s first TEDx Talk, and, like the art, skill, and practice of becoming a great listener – it was an educational journey. The objective of a TEDx Talk is to bring in an individual who is an expert in their field, and have them boil down their expertise, thought leadership, and key ideas into a 12-to-18-minute speech. 

“It was an interesting experience,” said Dr. John, “It was a presentation like none I’d ever given. I had a speaking coach, and I formed a wonderful rapport with Coach Carmen.”

The buildup to the talk included 10 Zoom coaching sessions to prepare and practice. Most speeches don’t typically come with camera coverage – this one did. It was a three-camera shoot with an audience of about 150 people. 

Dr. John said, “I was nervous in the sense I’d never done a TEDx Talk.” 

He represented each letter in his T-I-M-E initialism, with a personal vignette that illustrated how he became a better listener by taking the time to learn from communication misperceptions, missteps, and mistakes.   

It was his goal to convey that listening is one of the greatest skills rarely taught, but that with discipline, effort and practice over time, you can develop your listening capacity. 

“My speech was about facilitating the process of becoming a better listener to ourselves, our loved ones, and our fellow human beings,” said Dr. John, “It takes grace, compassion, and the precious gift of our time.”

If you’d like to listen to Dr. John’s TEDx Talk, it’s coming soon. We will post the information on our Saint Ignatius social platforms when we get it!

Saint Ignatius College Prep

Saint Ignatius College Prep, a Jesuit Catholic school in the heart of Chicago, is a diverse community dedicated to educating young men and women for lives of faith, love, service and leadership.