10/26/08

Listening…the Greatest but least used form of Communication

Do you find yourself hating meetings? Are your relationships boring? Then the real question you need to ask yourself is…who is sucking all of the air out of the room? I’ve sat in on enough counseling sessions and enough meetings to stumble upon what sometimes is missing from our interactions with others. Listening is quite possibly the greatest but least used form of communication. What can happen is that sometimes, we can get so caught up in thinking that we have the best ideas or that we need to comment on everything that we fail to see either our role in the situation or we fail to acknowledge the expert in the room. A fool will either always try to dominate the conversation or cause the conversation run in circles. The wise however listen and most importantly aren’t afraid of the silence that might ensue a comment…waiting as it were for the answer or the truth to reveal itself. I think that sometimes people are fearful of silence or just listening for the sake of listening. Diving into a lake without being able to see what you might be diving into could prove deadly. Likewise, diving into a conversation without the foresight to see where the conversation is going or the wisdom to discern what the parties are saying could be dangerous. It’s important to have some sort of context, anyone who frequently visits a lake can tell you where the good fishing locations are, where your likely to sink your boat, or where you might get it stuck. By having context of those in your staff meetings or with those that you are having one-on-ones with you can map out the lake so to speak. Listening, and listening with intent is the key to accessing the past, present, and future to any discussion and to any person. I’ve seen enough or least heard enough to know that nothing is said without intent…and if it is said then the fool has absolutely no knowledge or wisdom whatsoever. As a leader though, isn’t important to listen and respond as quickly as possible. Don’t ever let a meeting get out of hand by letting two parties fight and go at. An ample amount of debate is always good…but any debate can go too far and for too long if it is not ended. Have you been watching any of the presidential debates? Each candidate, if not moderated could go on and on. Be smart, don’t have diarrhea of the mouth, and most importantly think before you speak. To let the conversation dictate whether your idea is good or bad…is a bad idea. You need to first think about what you’re about to say, and then based upon the context of the conversation determine whether you have a good or a bad idea.
Listen before you think and think before you speak.

2 comments:

Kendal Franks said...

I agree. Knowing that I sometimes need Imodium for my mouth, I can relate to what you're saying here.

It's nice and humbling when we realize that our opinion is not always wanted or needed. I would take that even farther to say that we don't even need to formulate an opinion on everything! It's tiring to have the burden of thinking your opinion always must be expressed.

Anyhow, good word.

Justin Steinhart said...

Thanks Kendal...I wrote this one in part because of everything you just said...anyway thanks for your comment