Lend an Ear

Did you know that February was National National Awareness Month Awareness Month? I didn’t. I’m not sure how anyone would participate in it. Maybe by picking a different awareness month to be aware of each day. It turns out there’s a lot more than twelve. I didn’t know that either. I guess I could have figured it out, if I had taken the time to think about it. There are so many things to be aware of; it wouldn’t make sense for only twelve of them to get months. I probably would have realized that sooner if I had participated in National National Awareness Month Awareness Month.

But I didn’t, and, anyway, that was totally off-topic. My real point is that March is National Listening Awareness Month. As a member of Doyle’s Listening Behavior class, it is my responsibility to raise awareness. Now, I think most of us know about good listening posture, but I’ll review: make eye contact, face toward the speaker, respond occasionally, and stop looking at your phone! Of course, this mostly applies to important conversations, but if you think about it, every conversation feels important when you’re the one doing the talking.

The real danger, I think, in knowing how to look like you’re listening is how easy it becomes to fake listen. All you have to do glance up and nod once in a while and you look mostly engaged. But this isn’t honest, and it isn’t at all fair to the speaker. The challenge I’m giving for Listening Awareness is that we focus an actually listening, rather than simply appearing to. I think you’ll be surprised by what you hear. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the world, it’s that everyone has a story that they want to tell. Which is great because these stories are beautiful. The only problem is when everyone is telling a story, there’s no one left to hear them all.

So think about the one thing you wish you could tell the world, or maybe the secret you want to share with just one person, and remember that everybody has one. Take the time to hear someone else’s.