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Monday, July 07, 2008

Listen

The old saying says that we have two ears and one mouth because we need to listen twice as much as we talk. I think the old adages need dusting down and seeing the light of day again.

We live in a world of noise and information where we are assailed with facts, figures, soundbites, advertisements, conversation and messages from all angles. In the midst of this confusion of sound we do well to discern the truth.I have noticed driving the taxi that people really do want to be listened to.

A young lady in her early 20s got in last week and I asked how her day had gone as I do most passengers. "Terrible" she replied. "It's been an awful week. Don't ask" she went on to say. "I asked the question and I don't mind what answer I get" I said. With that opening she poured out a story of betrayal at work by a colleague and by the company that she works for. She told me about the Union supporting her in a strong case and how she just wanted to be respected as a young woman in the corporate world.

The story she told me was not unfamiliar although, nevertheless, sad. What interested me was that when we arrived at her destination she sat for around 5 minutes relating this story. She was unapologetic and was glad to unburden herself. I really don't mind people talking because I say "How was your day?" expecting all sorts of answers.

I have noticed that "How are you?" is another way of saying "Hello". There is no intention behind the words in most cases. All societies have their variations but the message conveyed is that people will be polite but please don't engage with me beyond this facade of respectability. Taxis are known as modern day confessionals and I am trying to be genuine in my responses.

Take time today to listen to someone. It could well change your day for the better.

2 comments:

R.L.Scovens said...

Most of us don't really like to listen to strangers, but sometimes people just need to get things off of thier chests.

We do need to listen more.

Sally said...

excellent point Les- we need to be listeners first, too often we speak too much!!!