This is so simple and yet so hard to do in real life. A woman stopped by to see me the other day. She had moved out a ways on the age continuum. Our eyes connected as we took our seats in my conference room. Her face was full of life and she engaged me immediately. We exchanged a few words to set the stage. Her voice was clear and her words were carefully chosen. She spoke with a great precision, organizing her thoughts into efficient and powerful sentences. She sized me up and decided that I was safe.
What she said to me and the story she told is not important. That she spoke to me and that she told her story is. I listened and listened and then listened some more. I was fascinated and she was comfortable telling her story to me. I learned from her and about her.
So many times we feel compelled to speak, talking, I think, to hear ourselves talk. We should be listening more and talking less. We are missing the stories people will tell us if we just listen. Ask a question and then listen. Listen hard and you’ll be surprised by what you might hear.
I qualify as a professional talk show host and I’m an attorney, so yes, I have to be able to talk. Words are my life. I make my living dwelling in the house of the Word. And, yes indeed I do have to talk. But, my real job is listening. What’s yours?