Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How well have you been listening?

It's the season for people to meet and greet: to hang out with family and friends and talk. If people are talking, someone should be listening. I wonder how you listen.

Some people listen for cues that it is their turn to talk. It's a little like writing Christmas letters - a seasonal chance to review and celebrate the parts of the year we want to keep in memory. Of course these people want to be heard - and they even want to listen - but they want even more to let the words flow past them so that they can see and hear and remember their own experiences.

Some people listen to connect. They do not really care much about the content of the conversation as long as they can create rapport and goodwill. This is useful at many, many seasonal gatherings. We should appreciate fully the value of goodwill and rapport in a season where they are often in shorter supply than the greeting cards would have us believe.

Some people listen to learn. They connect so that they get good content. They focus on content and on connecting content and context. They gather information they can use immediately or store for future use. They are learning because there are changes they want to make and they require information.

Some people listen because they love to listen. They are aware of context and content and connection and they work all three so that the sum is greater than the parts. They energize the people speaking, they create focus and they collaborate in creating meaning and tangible good. They are great listeners.

Not everyone has to be a great listener. Sometimes just showing up for the conversation counts. It's okay if some conversations are just about moving through the holidays with peace and pleasant manners.

Sometimes, though, you have the chance to be a great listener. You can find what you need and make someone else feel great.

If you have the chance, take it. Try it.

Listen.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This week, we've been working on something special

http://www.nlpcanada.com/resources/more_reading/free_ebook_download.pdf

I haven't blogged for the past 10 days because I have been busy working on our new e-book. It's a free download at the link posted above.

The subject is Getting to Know Yourself. It's obvious why personality testing is useful to other people and we often talk as though it is equally obvious why self-exploration is useful. It's not entirely obvious. Unconscious process is so brilliantly efficient that one could easily argue that we would be better off letting it run our lives. Knowing more only encourages us to step in and mess up processes that work better without thought.

We could argue that - but we don't. Instead Chris and I argue that there are many advantages to getting to know yourself better. Not the least of these is that the process itself can be quite enjoyable. Much of what is hidden from us is actually our strengths and abilities.

Take a look. Enjoy and share.

Merry Christmas, everyone. I'll be back next week

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I've missed you

It's been almost two weeks without a post - uncharacteristically long for me. I have been traveling and away from machines. I have missed taking the time and enjoying the opportunity to stabilize.

My learning from my time away: people worry too much about not sharing language. Language is important (I do love language) and it is not the most important component of communication. I would rather listen to an enthusiastic answer to my question in a language I do not understand than listen to an insincere or inattentive answer in a language I do understand.

Sometimes the languages in question are not the big language groups (like English or Spanish). Sometimes they are the languages of teaching or business or any technical grouping. Sometimes they are even more subtle. We human beings depend on very fine increments of meaning and we convey them through languages that sometimes seem to be using the same words for very different things.

I hope - I believe - that I welcomed someone into my family this week with the persistence and congruence of my intention. I hope - I believe - that he understood what I really meant even when the words were a little blurry.

It's Christmas - a time for one message in so many media and languages. Think about what you want to say - then say it. Words are optional.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How long does it take?

I am on my way out the door for a busy day (another busy day). Obviously, I don't have time to write (probably best not to write when you don't have time to think).

Wait. Here I am writing. It's only taking a couple of minutes - minutes I would otherwise lose in the general fog of being busy. Sitting here clears my thoughts, just a little. Sitting with you clears my focus - more than a little. I am with people I like, doing work I love.

Take a moment today in the part of your life where you are with people you like doing work you love. Be surprised at how little time it takes to connect (with yourself, with the people in your thoughts). Notice the difference it makes to have stabilized something positive - if only for a few seconds.

It only takes a few seconds.