Every so often a word or a sentence lands, resonates and causes me to stop, think and wonder.
This happened today.
The words, “Acknowledging that what is said is important to the speaker”.
My gratitude and hat tip to Dina Dyer Owens, the words come from their code of values http://www.dinadwyerowens.com/the-code-of-values-/
It caused me to think about all the times I had stopped listening to someone, because I was bored, knew what they were going to say next, had heard it all before, or offer my answer to fix it or show how clever I am.
It caused me to wonder how many times I had dismissed what they were saying as unimportant, waffling, having no value.
It caused me to cringe when I think about the times I had shut down, walked off, or ignored someone simply because they were not thinking like me, speaking like me or behaving like me.
What an unfeeling, uncaring hypocrite I am.
Think about it though, how many times have you behaved this way?
How many times has this happened to you? It feels awful, limiting, numbing…..
One of the key questions I ask lots of people is, “When was the last time you felt really heard?” If I ask this to an individual or a group, rarely does anyone respond quickly and it takes a few moments of thought before the penny drops.
“Oh my goodness”, “This is far harder than I thought”, “I do recall, but it was a long time ago”.
The really interesting thing is that when they do remember, a smile breaks out across their face, as though they are recalling what it was like and how it felt. They often go away to think, as I call it, evidenced by them looking away from my gaze, maybe into the distance, gathering all the thoughts, feelings and sensations from that moment. On returning to me, they share what happened.
In one instance, a lady went right back to when she was starting on her career, some 40 years earlier. She had written, as in put pen to paper, envelope, postage stamp and a walk to the post box, and then the waiting. She had written to the CEO of a company, who she had just seen speak at a conference she had attended. The reply arrived, with an invitation to meet him at his offices in Birmingham.
What she recalled, fondly, was how for the first thirty minutes of their time together he gave her his full attention, asked her questions about her ideas, her thinking, her story, and then he listened, fully listened, all the time looking at her with a soft, warm, interested gaze, giving her time to think and time to share what was tumbling out of her mind and her mouth.
Even when she thought she had finished, he asked further questions that caused her to dig deeper into her mind, to bring out and share what she had only shared with her parents previously. She felt she could trust this gentleman, she felt safe in his presence, she felt that her words mattered.
She paused, smiled, drew breath and looking deep into my eyes, said, “You know what, Colin, I felt that I really mattered.”
Who will you listen to today, such that they feel their words and they themselves really matter?
Try it and don’t be surprised at what happens.