I talk a lot.
My name is Heather Nelson, and I am a talkaholic.
I have a lot to say....right up to the point when I have nothing else left to say.
Since June 1st, I have not only had a lot to say, but I have been in a position where I am required to say a lot...every single day. I am also in situations where listening is the most important skill I have in my tool box. I have also been doing a lot of listening. A lot of listening. Customers, employees, former customers, bosses, peers, investors, boards, mayors, cleaning crews, landscapers...
Do you know what the common denominator is in all of these?
Everybody wants to be heard.
Take a moment and let that simmer in the air around you...
Everybody. Wants. To. Be. Heard.
Can I get a Woo Hoo?? :)
An example...the other night I was returning a call to a customer. It was night because my days are so jammed, I have to return phone calls after 5 (traditionally between 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.) because during normal hours, I am either running to something or others are running to me. My office is a revolving door. I am not complaining. This is the nature of the beast and that means things are happening, and I love that. :) The customer on the other end of the phone that night was shocked that I was working so late...I mean...I am a banker??!! It is after 5??!!...I have to say it makes me smile and cringe every time I hear that. Bankers today are right there with pond scum...gotta love those broad brushes.
Anyway, I am returning the call...the customer is clearly peeved (I have well tuned spidey senses after working in customer service for just shy of 30 years (no, I am not that old; I just started that early :) )). I let them talk...and talk...and talk....they talked for well over 30 minutes. I simply listened. I listened with a smile on my face...remember, people can hear the smile even when you are not talking. When they were finally done...and you know this when they realize that it is completely quiet on the other end of the phone and respond with, "Well I need to let you speak now." Note, don't be fooled by long pauses...make them open the floor to you....some people need lots of time to unload their concerns, complaints, thoughts, etc. I then set about addressing their concerns one-by-one, setting an action plan, setting expectations on those actions and a timeline for getting them completed. By the end of the call (one hour total), they were asking me about my family and telling me about theirs...*whew*...we had found the win-win...for both of us.
I was relaying that story (without names to protect the innocent) to someone the other day, and they looked at me like I had lost my ever loving mind. An hour...to return a customer call...really??!! Yes. Really. Everybody. Wants. To. Be. Heard.
I look at Washington today. I look at the churches today. I look at the state of relationships today (some of these in my own life). Everybody is shaking their heads...shaking their fingers...and lambasting over what is wrong with the world today, and sometimes I just want to jump up and down and scream. Shut up!!!! Just shut up and LISTEN. Nobody listens anymore. (Note: I am not perfect. I fail in this area too.) Too often we hide behind Facebook and Twitter postings, e-mail, texting, sound bites, gossip, form letters....
What happened to good old fashion phone conversations, in-person conversations, dialogue (for the love of pete)??
Today, I sit here all talked out. I have talked and listened for twelve days straight (personally and professionally). Today is going to be my quiet day. My day to rest, think, reflect and meditate on the week behind and the week ahead. I have a few WW (went wells) and NT (next times) of my own that I need to ponder on...learn from.
I am an odd bird...of that I am fully self-aware.
I don't have all of the answers. I am not perfect. I am so far from perfect that I cannot see perfect. Here is what I do know. People want to be heard. People want to be listened to. Active listening ~ listen and then show them you actually heard them. Prove it. Grow a set and own the problem. Own the relationship. Own your mistakes. Own your job. Own your actions. Own your life.
Own it. Deal with it. Move on.
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)