Friday, February 1, 2013

Talking about Listening


 There is a certain irony to saying things about listening, and there is a sharp irony to writing a 200 page book about listening. I've sometimes thought I should just publish a blank book with a pretty cover, maybe with an impressionistic painting of an ear on it, send out a few thousand copies for other people to write in, and then read what people wrote while making active listening sounds. That would be a better expression of listening, right?

The way I justify a 200 page book on the subject is by saying that my thoughts are the results of years and years of listening, and that even as I write I am listening to the voices inside me and the Voice outside me (and in me through the Spirit). Believe it or not, I have 1700 pages of notes that I've been collecting for the last 4 years, which is just borderline pathological let's be honest, but those notes have been sourced by hundreds of listening conversations I have had and books I have read. At a certain point, if you want to teach people about listening, you have to start talking about it. But I also know that I will keep listening, even as I am sharing what I have learned.

Here are a few tweets I have shared on the subject this week:

Sometimes it seems like people represent listening as passive or weak. I think listening requires more strength than sharing our opinions.

I'm trying to write a chapter on listening to others that is not a "how to" list. I'm taking the "list" out of listening.

I think that good listening, like good writing, is able to penetrate to the heart of the matter.

I said "Good morning" to a 90 year old nursing home patient, and she gave me the finger. That definitely just happened.

Okay, that last one had nothing to do with listening, but come on. A 90 year old woman gave me the finger!!