Nobody Listens To Me

The president of the small company sits at his desk. He is holding his head in his hands as he leans over the desk. I enter. He looks up in an obviously morose mood. “Gary, nobody listens to me.”

But we have all been there. Nobody listens to us–at times.

Today’s news included an item about Apple’s Air Pods. You have them hanging from your ear. People around you assume you are listening to music, a podcast, or a phone conversation. You can listen to conversations around you surreptitiously.

Real listening is a “full-contact” sport.

First, we stop talking.

We stop thinking about what to say next.

We focus our eyes and attention on the other person.

We hear with our ears and watch posture and eyes of the other person.

We take in context.

We embody this simple little maxim–Speak only when it improves upon silence.

Back to the president of the company. I needed to break the mood. “Huh?” I asked. “No one listens to me,” he replied. “Huh?” I repeated. It took three times for him to break out of the self-pity.

Sometimes we have to get their attention before we can listen.

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