The first homework I have in months and I'm doing it at lunchtime on the day it's due! This is for the VLI-AD mentoring for this semester. So it's not just two people trying to counsel each other week after week, other people got invited. The first session was a riot, largely caused by my group of three running out of big issues to talk about. For want of a decent topic, B confessed he was a chocoholic. It's hard to practice active listening when someone's telling you how their chocolate addiction has them snorting lines of Nestle Quick and cruising the streets looking for Hershey's syrup, and then the guy in charge walks up and hands B a bowl of M&M's, and all three of us lost it. Homework was to read a quote and answer some questions, Hubby blogged his answers too. The session was about active listening.
The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you
get ashamed of, because words diminish them - words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it is more than that isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you were saying it. That's the worst I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.
Stephen King, Different Seasons
1. Do people feel comfortable talking to you?
Yes. I'm not that threatening in person, and it's easier to listen than talk a lot of the time. Talking involves vulnerability.
2. Do the people you interact with on a daily basis feel valued by you?
Mostly, I think. I do customer service, so you have to be polite and helpful, and take everything they say seriously. Active listening on the phone includes a lot of those non-verbal "uh huh" noises.
3. Where can you improve?
Pay as much attention in face to face conversations as I do in email and blog communications. Actually get out and talk to people, and pay attention when they do.
4. What opportunities have you missed to listen well this week and what got in your way?
Ended up talking in prayer time at homegroup, instead of listening to someone else, which is good because I tend to not talk if I can help it. I'm quiet by nature.