Principle of the Week: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
In the winter, the birds silence, the leaves crumble, and the animals run for cover. We all run for cover. We run for fire to warm up our hands. We crank up the heaters in our cars. We sneak our space heaters under our cubicles at work. The birds, the squirrels, the adults, and children alike, we all scurry for warmth. We look for blankets to bundle in, music to fill the cold, silent, winter air, and socks to cover our toes.
I love dressing warm, pulling out my big coat, tying up fluffy scar, zipping up my boots, and heating up a cup of hot tea. Months pass and winter starts to melt away. The Spring tip-toes in. My all-time favorite season simmers into existence. The flowers burst open. the leaves splash the sky. The birds break the winter silence. The squirrels run rampant like in a game of tag. The winter becomes warm, just like those moments we meet people.
Cold, awkward moments turn warm when we smile and get to know a person’s name. A moment with no heartbeat comes to life when we start that conversation. This winter-like moment springs forward. With active listening the conversation blooms. When you listen to a person share their story, it’s like a black and white image splashed with color. When we listen with our ears and our eyes the winter silence breaks with spring conversation.
It’s this idea of actively listening and encouraging others to talk about themselves that Dale Carnegie shares for this week. I have written up a couple exercises to practice intentional listening. Would love to hear your thoughts!
1. Pen, Paper, & Lamp: Journal each evening before bed and reflect on your conversations of the day. Did you do most of the talking? Did you learn something new about someone? Did you meet someone you can follow up with? If you met with a client or organization, did you talk mainly about your work or focus on them?
2. Calendar, Pen, & Phone: Grab your calendar and pick 2-3 events coming up and put a reminder in your phone to go off when you arrive at the event. Going to a bridal show? Perfect! Meeting with an organization about a photojournalism assignment? Great! Getting coffee with a friend? These are all fantastic opportunities to practice.
What are your thoughts?