A crash course in changing the world.
This time around, I'm taking on another point from the innovation guideline:
talk to the people who have the problem – and LISTEN to what they have to say
Please recognize that it sounds simple, but isn't. You also need to know that not many people do it. Let's look at why they don't and why we have to learn it.
First of all most people don't listen, they talk. Think about it. You, who are listeners, know what I mean. If you don't know or understand this, then ask yourself: "Do I ever really listen?" Try to remember a few examples, perhaps even post them in your own blogging. If you can remember one, two or more, then you have had some real conversations that probably meant something to you. Was the person you were talking with really listening? In those cases, probably so.
What most people do, is talk about themselves, other people, their daily lives, their friends, their favorite tv show, movie or whatever they find interesting. Some people always have problems and that's all they talk about. You usually know these are talkers because you really cannot get a word into the conversation unless it is agreement about their topic, or them. Why? They don't they listen? Now, why don't they listen?
Of course the reasons vary. It can be fear, strong emotion from a situation or they may not want anything more than your time. Some are afraid to "get involved" Some fear they will hear something they don't want to hear. Most often, they don't want to take the time to listen and find an excuse to go. True listeners do that too. It is a busy world and we always do seem to have "things to do". Other reasons can range from never learned how to listen, never wanted to learn, never had to learn all the way to total self absorbtion, and don't care what other people want to say..
Listening is a learned skill. Do you want to be a social innovator? You had better develop this skill. If you care about people, you'll learn. Likely you already know this first parrot step: The easiest, most common first step is reflection: take any idea presented and then.tell them what you hear and let them agree or correct you. Use it as needed. to be sure you do understand. Start it as a question: "Are you saying..." As you get more comfortable using it you'll find yourself listening better. I know I did. And I've been a listener since I was a child. I did many necessary steps intuitively. But until I studied listening skills in My Master's program, I didn't dream how complicated it can get. Or what pitfalls existed in doingit wrong.
We all probably know a few natural listeners. We feel safe, cared about and can talk about anything in their presences. We also all probably know a few people who made us feel that way and used what we said for gossip or to "get even" with for some reason. All skills can be and are abused.
But lets look again at our topic in social innovation, that's what we are doing: talk to the people who have the problem – and LISTEN to what they have to say . If we can make them feel safe, cared about and can talk about anything, how much easier is it to work on problem solving? In simple language, that's why good listening skills are necessary.
How has listening or not listening affected your life? It could make a good bl9ogging topic. In mine, it has made and will continue to make a difference. It leads to faster, more effective problem solving and deeper, richer relationships with others. After all, unless you are an exception, we all need to be heard and understood by others.
When I'm in listening mode, I'm usually in the presence of anger, frustration, or other powerful, negative emotions. I proceed carefully to understand, to help release the emotion and begin to channel it toward solutions, when possible. You can read some of the kinds of situations, I'm writing about here in the article resource below.
This will provide you with a different explanation of listening skills. It is one of many reasonable versions, chosen because irt has examples. It comes from the University of California at Berkeley. http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/ucce50/ag-labor/7article/listening_skil....
There are many more versions and the academic language sometimes lol gets academic! Every school if listening theory and practice seems to create their own vocabulary.
If you want more on listening skills, be sure to post me, or note that in a comment and I'll come back with a short series of posts on listening and some additional sources you can use.