How do we know when we’re having a conversation?
Does it require the presence of another person?
Does it require them to actively participate? To speak? and/or listen?
How do we know they’re listening? That what we’ve said has been heard?
Trying to get the kids out of bed this morning (the dreary weather continues) got me thinking about this.
I knew they were awake because I could hear them whispering amongst themselves.
Singing out a cheery “good-morning kids” got me no respnose.
Calling out each one by name from the hall got me no response.
Raising my voice got no response.
Make a blog entry online is a similar challenge.
The motivation to write is so I can get these thoughts out of my head & into the ether.
However, rarely (never) has anyone replied to anything I’ve written.
The kids spoke to me when they were ready.
I guess the same is true here too.
I quite often forget that listening is as important as speaking in communication. Dave Winer had a very pertinent post about this a couple of days ago:
I tend to do a lot of talking myself, I’m aware of it, so I try to reign it in. Tell my mind to listen and not talk. That’s hard for some reason, but it’s important. Otherwise why bother spending time with others? I can hear myself talk any time. This is a different person across the table. Someone I don’t see every day. What’s their experience? What can I learn from them? I want to know. And if I can’t get my mind to quiet down, none of that happens.
James Altucher has a few tried and tested suggestions
And even better, we feed the soul by listening to each other. Ultimately, the best speakers are the ones who have put 10,000 hours into listening.
We’re at a point in time when it’s become possible for us to listen to our customers.
When we listen to our customers, it’s worth thinking about the hows and whys of listening. To serve. To learn. To enjoy. To protect against danger. To spot patterns. To respond as needed.
Chip Scanlan emphasizes the power of silence for journalists conducting interviews. His advice stands for pretty much all of us in our daily lives too. Listening, instead of speaking, may be the best thing to do in more circumstances than you have considered.
Something I often forget to do.
Mostly with the people I most cherish.