Haiku: Better Communication.
Wanting to be heard,
We try to plan our answers.
Instead, please listen!
What could the world be if a majority of people wanted to communicate with and understand each other? If we were able to feel heard while listening to what others are trying to tell us? That is the type of world I want to be a part of, and I want to help make that world a reality. So here is my Declaration of Passion for Making Our World Communicate Better.
There is a conflict within us between wanting to be heard and actually listening to what the other person is saying. We have books telling us to speak first, plan your defense, negotiate from a position of strength by not letting the other person get what they want. This is a major part of how “people” get ahead in the world and become leaders all over the world. For me as the youngest of seven children, six of them boys my mission in life was to be heard and it didn’t matter what the other person was saying. It only mattered if people were looking at me and talking about me. The skills I learned growing up made me personable and successful in making things happen around me. As I researched this declaration I found over 30 different items focused on “Wanting to be heard”.
For most of us there is a point in a conversation when one starts planning one’s point while the other person is still talking. My large family allowed for many people to talk at the same time. When the talking heads on TV are performing they talk over one another all the time, or don’t bother to answer the question asked. They just make sure their talking points are shared no matter what the topic is now. In congress it seems that the members are planning their rebuttal at the first words from the opposition’s statements. In meetings, there is a moment when a person feels the discussion is not moving in the right direction and one stops listening to what is being said and starts to think of a way to move the meeting back in the right direction. I am very well trained in this process to make sure meetings are successful and I will often start planning while others are still presenting their position. It is my job.
So the challenge for me (and I hope for you and your friends) is instead of planning my next comment, I (we) need to please listen to what is being said around me (us). Famous Coach John Wooden is known for short inspirational phrases like “Listen if you want to be heard”. So from today forward the plan is to listen and then respond. Listen so that I can understand what the person is afraid of, or trying to describe, so that I can communicate in the best possible method once they are done sharing. I want to be an example for others to follow and increase the productivity of all of us in our endeavors. Participating in Socrates Cafés has helped me gain skills for helping others share their point of view and learn how to talk with people who have significantly different points of view. I intend to spend more time within this setting to hone those skills and share them with more people. I will be a major participant in building DemocracyCafe.org into a worldwide presence for better democracy in many different layers of my life and the lives of those that cross my path. Finally, I will listen first and then plan my response whenever possible. This method of communicating is of utmost importance to me at this time and I feel driven to be an example to others for the rest of my life.
Dennis K. Dienst, Golden Valley, MN