Sunday, August 31, 2008

LISTEN AND LEARN

My husband and I were watching the coverage of Hurricane Gustav tonight. Geraldo Rivera was one of the reporters. He was interviewing an archbishop from the Catholic church in New Orleans. My husband commented that you could tell from the archbishop's demeanor that he truly believed in what he was doing and was a kind, good-hearted man. I replied that he reminded me of President Gordan B. Hinckley. Pres. Hinckley had that kind of a demeanor: kind, loving, patient, concerned with what you had to say, like he had all the time in the world to just sit and talk with you. I truly admire that in people. How is that learned? One way I think it is learned is by working with people and serving them. However, I don't think everyone who works with people learns this. Some people learn the opposite, they learn impatience, rudeness, and act like they don't care what you say. What is the difference? How do some people learn patience, kindness and love, while others learn rudeness, loathing and impatience? I think one answer is you have to love your job. You have to actually like what you are doing. President Hinckley was a perfect example of someone who loved what he was doing. He always had a smile on his face. I loved it when he would joke around. It kind of caught you off guard sometimes to have your prophet tell a joke from the pulpit, but it was great!

Have you ever sat and talked with someone who acted like what you had to say was the most important thing in their life at that moment? One person that comes to my mind when I think of this is my mother-in-law. She is the greatest listener I have ever sat and talked to. She acts like she has nothing better to do than to sit and listen to you. Maybe because this is true - she HAS nothing better to do than to just sit and listen to you because she is in her 80's. But she has always been that way to me. I love to just sit and talk with her. Especially if it's just you and her. She gives you her full, undivided attention. I think this is one of her greatest gifts. She is someone I would like to emulate in that characteristic. My husband also has this gift if it is just you and him and he's not near a tv. But he is not as good at it as his mother.

So try this experiment: The next time you talk with someone-either someone you know, or someone you don't know - look them in the eyes when you speak. Smile. Listen to what they are saying. Reply with comments so THEY know you are paying attention. Listen, instead of trying to think of an experience or story you can tell as soon as you can jump in. Don't look at your watch. Don't look over your shoulder at people passing by. Don't watch tv or look at a magazine or the newspaper while you listen...and watch their reaction. Look at their face. These are all things I need to work on. Lately I've tried doing this a few times. It's sometimes hard to do. And no, I can't do it every time. But it has interesting results...

2 comments:

Epitome of Sweetness said...

That's good advice. Especially with children.

Bullet for Babs said...

You know I've noticed that people are caught off guard when you do that at the drive thru...I guess most people don't expect you to look them right in the eye when you talk to them at something as informal as going through a drive thru....but I do and they always shoot me a look back when that they almost appreciate that I'm looking them in the eye rather than someone who treats them as some creature who just needs to give them some food so they can go on their way...