But I do know what I do know. Don’t I? Yet, I do not know what you do know.
And we all know how important soft skills* are in the workplace. viz.: Technical skills may get you the interview, but soft skills will get you the job.
I am in touch with my faults, Chickens…I shout them out…which, of course, is one of my faults…well…I prefer to think of it as “speaking passionately”…around my kitchen table if you couldn’t bring some intensity to the conversation…don’t bother sitting down.
So I’ve made soft skills a personal mission (read-obsession)…if you’ve been in one of my learning and/or communications workshops…you know.
You also know that we talk about listening as a vital soft skill…and it is…oh how it is! e.g.:
- Seek to understand, not be understood.
- Listen 75% – speak 25%
- Hearing is a physical process – listening, a cognitive process.
I can recite the platitudes like Hail Marys…but I suck at listening. I do.
It’s not because I like to talk, I don’t especially…so I’m just going to be honest…here’s why I’m lousy at listening:
- I know. Short of patience to begin with…it’s hard to listen when someone is telling you something you already know…waste of time…amIright? As you age, you become more aware of time…so let’s get to the part I don’t know. This makes me think of learning (doesn’t everything though?!?!) What if information provided to us (topical of course)…was based on our questions. We’ve got to face facts: we’re a Q&A culture…Google is god…alas Alexa is not human.
- Point, please. Short of patience to begin with…I am not a therapist. I mean at school, at work…our communication is transactional, right?…we are seeking to accomplish something…so let’s get to it. I mean…if we hit it off…we can grab a drink some time to probe our psyches and blame our parents…but that’s a different situation, which lends itself to a different kind of conversation; alas, maybe I am not human.
See what I mean…that white space makes you sweat…at least a little…right?
Silence is ‘da soft skills bomb’ they say. If you’re a good listener, “they” say, you are not formulating your response while someone is talking…people puh-leeze…short of patience to begin with…who has all day for meditative pauses after every conversational addendum?!? Maybe I’m just a slow processor…i.e. I am a slow processor. To be effective, my pauses need to be days more than moments.
Don’t get me wrong Chickens, everyone deserves to be heard. As a matter of fact, my mantra with students is always “find your voice,” but part of the journey to find one’s voice is learning how to adapt it – matching our voice to our environment, our audience, our circumstance – and how to refine it – speaking with clarity, purpose, and selectivity. In this way, we develop a voice worth listening to…
There’s a lot of noise in the world, Chickens. So if we want to improve our listening skills, we have to improve our speaking skills…voila′ p’nut butter & jelly.
- WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8 is midterm – time to reflect & assess.
- Today is FAT TUESDAY – eat your paczki w/o guilt.
If no one will listen / Not one…Tell your vision / To a stone.
*personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.