Category Archives: Listening

I Can Hear You: Loud But Not So Clear

Saturday night we had a marvelous time taking part in a lively discussion in a friend’s living room with a half-dozen of his friends.

many fireworks exploding at the same time against a black sky

Everyone speaking all at once can be like watching fireworks – there are so many outbursts vying for your attention, you can’t savor a moment, and the noise is deafening.

By the end of the night, they were our new friends, people whose insights and points of view we value. We look forward to getting to know them better.

Discussion is far too mild a word for the evening’s exchange. It was nothing short of  conversational cacophony. A full-on orchestra of voices. Fortissimo. Vivace. Most of the time no fewer than four or five people were talking, sometimes all nine of us were eagerly sharing our own point of view. In their passion to reinforce their point, some people would stand, even jump up and down and wave their arms. Continue reading

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Stop Listening!

Not too long ago I read a post by executive coach and Enneagram expert, Wendy Appel, called “The Bamboo Leader.” In it, she likened the qualities of bamboo to desirable qualities within people. Principal among them were the qualities of being flexible, resilient and versatile. She advised that to be a Bamboo Leader, we must seek to understand others through listening to their words and being open to their point of view. She also noted that listening to the words of others is not the same as adopting their point of view.

two silhouettes in bamboo

Strong, flexible and resilient bamboo is equally suited for creating boundaries and protecting itself from what it does not need. Bamboo Forest location: The Grounds for Sculpture, Trenton, NJ

Reading her post made me think about the times we need to reject others points of view and in that way, not listen to them. Sometimes, we need to stop listening so that we can remain true to ourselves and so that we can protect ourselves from hurt and harm. Continue reading

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So, What Happened?

Years ago, when some project or client interaction had not gone as well as expected, the head of our division where I worked at the time would initiate a fact-finding conversation with us by asking, “So, what happened?”

punched metal music roll inside a music box

All we need to do is ask a few questions, and like releasing the clutch on a music box, the words will flow.

Then he would sit back and listen carefully, nodding his head to show he understood, and asking a few more questions, until it seemed we had each played out our full opinion. Only then would he speak about what he wanted done next.

It’s an approach that I came to admire and to adopt. Continue reading

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