Listening is underrated and an underperformed act

Dear Readers,

I had occasion to connect with a dear friend of mine on Sunday and it occurred to me how long it has been since we had time to talk. Scratch that, I talk to people all day long and they talk to me, but do we really LISTEN to each other? I am sad to say that no, that isn’t always the case.

I am diligently working on this skill and am so glad I am because in this chat, he said something I REALLY needed to HEAR. I won’t share what it was because it was important to me and will mean nothing to you. Later that night, I heard a similar thing when a friend opened up and was very upset and I didn’t have an answer which is hard but often true.

I honed that skill further when another friend in need said, I don’t want you to cheer me up (a tall order) I want you to listen, and I want to be in a dark place and be pissed at the world. I also will understand if you need to not be around me right now. Deep breath. Okay. First, you are family, I will always want to see you, and hear what you have to say.

Then in the same week, I needed to listen to myself when I was sick and needed to rest. I tend to be a workhorse, and not stopping for anything as unimportant as a little sickness, but you know what, this was not small, this was non unimportant. I needed to go home and rest. So I did. I do not regret it, your health is no small thing and I can tell you listening to your body is a great skill to develop.  I am posting this picture of a coffee cup a friend gave me which I cherish and I used during one of these conversations to take a thoughtful pause when I wanted oh so badly to talk…. but what my friends needed was a listener. I encourage you to take stock and consider, Do you listen or wait…………………………………for your turn to talk? friendsMartina

Think About It……

Think about it.

Listen More, Talk less!

Dear Readers,

I love to talk, I mean really love it. I love the telephone, I love to speak and I love to talk to other people whether its work related or personal. I love it so much that sometimes I “wait for my turn to talk” rather than “really listen”. It is a habit i am working hard to break.

Think about this :

We have two ears and one mouth, I do not believe that is an accident.

I find that it behooves you in both places to listen more than you talk. People are 100% more interested in themselves than they will ever be in you, no matter how fascinating you are so bear that in mind in your next interaction.

Case in point, in my Toastmasters meeting today, I was on the PRO side of a debate and I chose to be first, if I had listened to the rules and details I would have known that the advantage was in going second because you can hear the argument being made so you can better play the game of point, counterpoint. Needless to say, I lost..

What’s the big deal you say? Well the Toastmasters debate got me to thinking about how often we “jump” to a conclusion or a reaction and “miss” that one thing that might make all the difference in building a relationship or solving a problem. I take my Toastmasters meeting seriously but I was not invested in whether I won or not.. for me today was about playing the game. I find that as a coach, the success of my client depends on me asking the right questions or more importantly, getting my client to ask themselves the right questions to arrive to the answer to a problem or approach the situation in a completely new way.

So the next time you pick up a phone, walk up to someone’s desk or sign in to that social media — Listen More, Talk Less…

Think About It….