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I am grateful for the fact that my children are able to express themselves (and all of their emotions). Their articulation of their challenges, triumphs, and annoyances offers me a glimpse into how they view the world around them. I realize that we spend a lot of time talking and sharing our opinions and information, and what I feel is lost is the art of listening. Are we really trying to absorb what is around us or are our senses too overwhelmed? Especially as we move towards a new calendar year and deal with end of year giving, annual appeal letters and the like, we are constantly pushing out information. Why is listening really that important?

  1. We learn new things: If you actually take the time to listen (both actively in-person or via phone or by reading) we might learn some interesting tidbits that provide insights into others’ perspectives, priorities or values. This is helpful in pursuing partnerships.
  2. Build connections: Instead of always pushing information about ourselves and organizations we represent onto other people, perhaps we can see this as an opportunity to connect. Let’s deepen the bonds that connect us.
  3. Focuses our energy: Listening is a skill and requires our attention and engagement. If we actually stop and absorb, this helps us remove the excess noise and become active participants in the world around us.
  4. The ties that bind: In addition to building connections, we also are able to find commonalities and shared values. Perhaps there is someone whose voice did not seem relevant or interesting at first glance, and now by listening you learned something new. Maybe this can help open your mind and perspective as well.

What will you do today to start listening to others?

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