“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can
listen twice as much as we speak.”
Three things conspired to inspire this week’s blog.
- This past week I traveled to Gainesville, Florida to record a podcast about Prader Willi Syndrome. (My host was The Arc of Alachua County and the podcast will go “live” on May 15.) Early on in the conversation, Executive Director Steve Drago said one of the important things The Arc does is to “listen and ask questions. You have to really know what someone wants out of life before you work toward that….”
- I am putting together a keynote presentation for a group of facility managers who (typically) have to address difficult situations with internal and external customers. My title: What Important Questions Should I Be Asking—And How Do I Know They Are The Correct Questions?
- My wife shared a Marilee Adams book that she had just purchased. It’s title: Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. Adams’ parable focuses on the choice we all have when confronted with a situation. Do we move along the Learner Mindset Path (asking questions of ourselves) or follow the Judger Mindset Path (casting blame on others). One leads to growth, the other to a muddled pit.
Too often we may find ourselves, colleagues, supervisors, friends of family members in the Judger role, quickly making assumptions about this or that and then smugly telling someone else what they should or should not do. (A few years back I wrote and recorded a tongue-in-cheek song titled “I’m Gonna Should On You” aimed at all those who “should on” us.)
The listening part typically goes AWOL. It seems that people will weigh in on most anything—whether they know about it or not. Rather than say “Can you tell me more” or “Why do you think this or that is so?” they will opine. And God forbid if they were to utter, “I don’t know about that. Can you tell me more?”
Video recommendation of the week: In his latest person-on-the-street questioning episodes, Jimmy Kimmel found people willing to proffer opinions about the recent SCOTUS nominee even though they did not know what they were talking about.
This week, how can you more effectively listen to the person in front of you and ask questions? (It really is OK not to know all the answers.) Help yourself and others learn and grow.
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(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.