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You Talkin' to Me?

by Theresa Cahill
All Rights Reserved
© Copyright 2002

Last night while watching stand up comedy on television, we listened to a comedian do a hilarious routine about wavering in and out while listening to someone else speak. At the time, it was funny - just as a comic routine is meant to be, but it got me wondering.

How often do we really listen? If your life is anything like what goes on around here, it's safe to say that maybe you listen with half an ear most of the time, and give your full attention during the portion of time leftover. And that's with live humans! Imagine trying to do the same online where we "listen" with a whole different set of "ears." Our fingers do the communicating online, via emails and instant messages. Our eyes become our heart.

The world is a busy place! It seems to constantly run at that "hurry and keep up" pace. So, when it comes time to really listen, how well are we doing?

Here's an example: Today, my son and I were invited to lunch with my folks. Living in Nevada, and having very slim pickings on where to eat in Mesquite, we naturally ended up over at one of the casinos and into a long, long buffet line. Finally, getting seated, getting our food, etc., it was time to eat and chitchat. Somewhere along the line, my father started in on a discussion about storing graphics online. It was quite complicated, with programs here and external drives there, and particularly how all the parts worked together. Compound that with the fact that graphics are not my forte!

Granted, at first I was able to track this conversation fairly well. Then, the noise of the buffet started crowding in, my son was getting restless, and my mom was commenting. In total frustration, my father said, "Stop! Go on input mode!"

This brought me up short. I realized I'd lost whatever he'd been trying to tell me more than a few sentences back.

Now, it's not WHAT we'd been talking about, it was the pure and simple fact that someone had been systematically speaking to me and I'd just gone zipping off into outer space where it all jumbled together - sort of a short trip into lala land.

Besides the most obvious, that of being rude, it does present a clear picture. Was I really listening? The honest
answer? No.

Whether online or off, the key to solid personal and business relationships hinges on our ability to listen and
truly "hear" what the other person is trying to tell us.

"You're a good listener" shouldn't be the surprise that it seems to be nowadays. Though it takes patience to slow down to the point of hearing, good listening skills come back to us when we're well-rested (a not-so-easy task working online) and thinking clearly.

So, my advice? Take time for yourself. Take time for your family and friends and cultivate your "art of listening."
Good listeners are few and far between. And, just like any endangered species, we need to do our best to preserve this dwindling natural resource and ensure it's survival into the new millennium.


About the Author:

A veteran of marketing, Theresa Cahill owns and operates , your one-stop spot for ezine advertising, solo ads, classified ads and more. Feel free to stop by for a visit anytime!