Keep Talking. I’m Listening.

TalkingI talk with a lot of educators.  We talk a lot about good teaching and engaging learning. I’ve learned a lot by talking.  And even more by listening.

Talking is a good thing.  I’ve written about it before.  I enjoy talking to people – the people I know and those I’ve just met.  I used to work in healthcare customer service and regularly talked by phone with people I never actually met.  I got good at recognizing the voices of repeat callers which taught me a valuable lesson about listening and hearing.  Listening requires full attention, no distractions and empathy – – or listening with your heart.  Hearing has to do with ears.   When I greeted callers by name after their “hello” the joy of being recognized was always so audibly palpable and much appreciated.  Those moments of connection were so powerful that most often we resolved their presenting issue, reduced their upset, and ended with smiles.  I never saw their faces, but I knew they were smiling.  My heart heard it.  And I was smiling, too.

It’s been many years since the phone is my primary communication tool.  I talk with my IMG_2974fingers a lot these days.  Amazing how much we can talk with our fingers.  I try to listen closely – deeply – but I find heartfelt listening to be more challenging with fingers and words.  So when I feel the connection I’m especially curious what it is about that communication that resonated.  And what I’ve discovered is – THE SAME LESSON.  Listening requires full attention, no distractions and empathy – – or listening with your heart.  Fingers can listen too!  Powerful stuff!

I especially enjoy talking with people when I can see their faces – when my eyes, ears, and heart work together the opportunity for connection is stronger.  Technology today has enabled fantastic opportunities to connect face to face, to talk with anyone anywhere. Don’t be fooled – the work of connecting and listening is still the work we need to focus on.  The deep listening.  The heart listening.  The listening that makes the connecting incredibly worthwhile, resolves issues, reduces upset, and encourages smiles.

Educators do a lot of talking.  Let’s check to make sure we are listening, too.

Keep Talking.  I’m listening.


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