A few weeks ago, I had a great idea for a side hustle. By day - I am a marketing, communication strategist and outside of raising a family, grad school and sleep - I thought I would become a professional listener. Yep, a professional listener. It may or may not be a real thing. Check it out - you talk, I listen because I believe most people just want to be listened to, not necessarily talked at. I thought I could counter all the talk, talk, talking in this world with a little listening. I'm told I'm a good audience.
And then I heard myself say to my kid - "Stop talking, I'm talking!"
Listening seems like a good idea until I have something to say, and I have so much to say - all of the time. I have opinions and ideas and thoughts and questions and years of experience to share. You see, I have this uncanny ability to pre-listen to what I am certain you are going to say, saving you the time of voicing the words out loud - then, I respond to what you didn't actually say. (If you followed that sentence we are both in big trouble!)
Real communication - personal or professional - involves strategic purpose. Talking and listening and Slacking and emailing and texting and gesturing and document sharing and receiving information - with purpose.
When my kid and I heard me exclaim, stop talking, I'm talking - we both paused, my words ricocheting off the walls and then together, we laughed. My ego (I know best) and fear (I'm afraid of what will happen if you don't listen to me) crept into our conversation and we both recognized the dynamic duo. How? Because in my house we have sort of a - communication plan. Because ego and fear often drive communication exchanges between family members, co-workers, friends, and fellow drivers in the Trader Joe's parking lot. So we communicate about how we communicate. It's very civilized. But having a strategic communication plan at home or in the workplace is only meaningful if we are all in agreement about the application of the plan.
My boys are the ones who nixed the idea of me becoming a professional listener. They said I talk too much. They said I would be setting myself up for failure because even if I sat there quietly listening to the world, my facial expressions would expose my thoughts. I humbly, and quietly agreed.
Lori Ann Dinkins
One blog at a time, I write the truth about my life as it is, as I hope it will be, as I wish it would have been. Business insights and personal triumphs. Thank you for joining me.