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Posts Tagged ‘listen

Listening has an Ugly Step-Sister: Waiting

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Surprise: She Has a Lot to Say

The problem with listening has always been the other person talking. When will they stop talking so I can talk about myself and my interests? You know—the important stuff.

And so we wait.

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Turns out there are lots of opportunities to wait in life. Beyond waiting for our turn to talk or the sheets to dry, there are lines at the grocer, lines for on-ramps, waiting for Netflix to load, waiting to get a job/spouse/house/liver/reprieve/break/two-bedroom spot in the nursing home.

What we do while we wait—that’s key. Some say stay busy. Some say pray (seems a good strategy to me). Some say stay curious. Some say pursue your passion.

And then there is listening

Listening while you wait.

Intently.

Deep in the spinning cogs and meshed gear-works of waiting there is a mechanism that also tunes interest. If I listen intently I may just see my desire shift ever so slightly. I scraped and saved for years for a new car but when I had the money, I realized desire shifted: I didn’t want to spend it on the new car. A used car does fine, and I’ll spend that savings for the other thing that became important in the meantime.

Is this partly how prayer works: deep desire and constant asking followed by shifts in desire and asking that turns to listening?

When we wait we are ripe for deep listening.

What are you hearing while you wait?

 

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

April 28, 2014 at 9:36 am

Collaborate is the New Black

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Listening looks good on you

Work often looks like a flavor-of-the-month shop. Depending on which consultants get the ear of those with a budget for adjusting corporate culture, we could be talking about mindfulness, or total quality commitment or getting the right people on the bus—there is no end to the analogies and training seminars and tightly-packed sessions to buy.

Always these programs promise change. Sometimes they deliver.

Here's why you should care.

Here’s why you should care.

But the constant impetus behind these attempts is employee engagement. The days of just showing up to stand on an assembly line or sit in a cubicle are long gone. Putting in hours is not enough—was it ever enough?

Engagement is tricky, of course. Employees work with BS filters set on high, which is why suggestion boxes rarely worked. Everyone knew putting a well-reasoned argument on a slip of paper and dropping it in a box went exactly nowhere.

No—the will to listen, which is near the heart of collaboration—must come from within rather than without. There must be a kernel of mission that speaks to listening to the good people you’ve brought in. The trick is to find that kernel. Engaged employees have done that work, usually on their own time.

I’m excited about a particular client of mine with a compelling, collaborative mission. They’ve invested millions in a particular process that is doing something brand new in the world. My client is lining up eager collaborators from industry and from academia. They are just now setting up systems to deepen their collaboration with researchers across the globe.

But how far are they willing to go with collaboration?

Working and learning together is the stated center of their mission—and this organization lives it out in countless ways. But are they willing to make messages that reach out and pull people in—even with ongoing research? Are they willing to set themselves apart as leaders willing to share knowledge in endlessly accessible research bites that are media and social media ready? After all, my client is partnering with an industry known for its secrecy, so what will collaboration and the inevitable transparency look like with these steely customers?

All that remains to be seen.

But one thing is certain: the will and gifts and curiosity of engaged, collaborative partners and employees is the only thing that will help this move forward.

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Image Credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

April 7, 2014 at 9:37 am

Mrs. Wheeler’s Back. And She’s Gone Existential.

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Fan the Wonder

Your 2nd grade teacher showed up. The one who always said “Listen to your neighbor.” She just dropped in—several decades later—but now she’s wearing a black beret, smoking unfiltered Gauloises and sipping espresso.

MrsWheeler-05212013Mrs. Wheeler is no longer concerned with making things simple for you. In the training for everyday life that was part of 2nd grade, listening was a critical skill. She thinks you’ve forgotten it today, based on how you treat people.

Mrs. Wheeler wants you to start seeing the people around you. And then she wants you to assign value to these others that surround you. Not just your gang. You already value them and you listen to them (more or less). It’s those others—those not in your group. The ones you barely acknowledge, let alone listen to. Mrs. Wheeler says a true interest in others means allowing those others to be themselves.

“Of course, Mrs. Wheeler,” you say. “How could it be otherwise?”

“Ah,” she says, smoke slowly drifting up.

And when people show up with words different than yours? Different language entirely? Or just a different set of words that are not the key words you watch for? What if these others wear clothes that are provocative? Or not at all stylish? What assumptions do you automatically process? And how do those assumptions affect how you listen?

“No,” says Mrs. Wheeler. “Pay attention. These others are saying something you need to hear. Fan whatever wonder you find.”

She slowly stubs her cigarette on the saucer.

“This is the way,” she says as she steps out your front door.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston, All Rights Reserved.

Written by kirkistan

August 28, 2013 at 5:00 am

Positioning ourselves as extreme listeners

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07182013-Story-2

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Image Credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

July 18, 2013 at 9:00 am

Posted in curiosities, listentalk, story

Tagged with

Mrs. Wheeler’s Back. And She’s Gone Existential.

with one comment

Fan the Wonder

 

Your 2nd grade teacher showed up. The one who always said “Listen to your neighbor.” She just dropped in—several decades later—but now she’s wearing a black beret, smoking unfiltered Gauloises and sipping espresso.

MrsWheeler-05212013Mrs. Wheeler is no longer concerned with making things simple for you. In the training for everyday life that was part of 2nd grade, listening was a critical skill. She thinks you’ve forgotten it today, based on how you treat people.

Mrs. Wheeler wants you to start seeing the people around you. And then she wants you to assign value to these others that surround you. Not just your gang. You already value them and you listen to them (more or less). It’s those others—those not in your group. The ones you barely acknowledge, let alone listen to. Mrs. Wheeler says a true interest in others means allowing those others to be themselves.

“Of course, Mrs. Wheeler,” you say. “How could it be otherwise?”

“Ah,” she says, smoke slowly drifting up.

And when people show up with words different than yours? Different language entirely? Or just a different set of words that are not the key words you watch for? What if these others wear clothes that are provocative? Or not at all stylish? What assumptions do you automatically process? And how do those assumptions affect how you listen?

“No,” says Mrs. Wheeler. “Pay attention. These others are saying something you need to hear. Fan whatever wonder you find.”

She slowly stubs her cigarette on the saucer.

“This is the way,” she says as she steps out your front door.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston, All Rights Reserved.

Written by kirkistan

May 21, 2013 at 9:27 am

Dummy’s Guide to Conversation #14: Please Say More

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How To Be A Verbal Philanthropist

tumblr_mf2pvy4DDf1qbcporo1_1280-01092013I always like it in the classroom when the professor says to the student, “Please say more about….” It is a sign of active listening, a phrase which pulls the reluctant student further into the conversation.

“Please say more” is irresistible in its eagerness to hear more of a person’s thinking or reaction or opinion. It is also a demonstration that people and their thoughts and ideas are important. And it is a crazy generous way to engage in conversation. Generous because by nature we rush to fill the space between someone else’s words with our own thoughts.

When someone says to me “Please say more” I feel honored and free and engaged—almost like having been given a gift.

Being a verbal philanthropist doesn’t cost much—just your attention.

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Image credit: Neil Swaab via 2headedsnake

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