There’s this one talk show that I listen to on radio. Well, I don’t listen to it very often.
I like the program, because it has valuable information, but I’m not crazy about the host. I like his ideas and I agree with a lot of them, but I don’t like the way the host does the hosting.
For instance, if he is interviewing a guest, the host outlines exactly how he feels about the topic before he asks the guest any questions. It leaves very little for the guest to say. It’s almost like the host wants to have his own viewpoint confirmed.
Sometimes, when the guest is answering a question, the host will butt in and give his own insight. And, sometimes, the host just wants the guest to agree with everything he believes.
I think that’s rude. Besides, it’s not nice.
Recently, I was having a conversation with someone I don’t know very well. I was making a two-part statement and my conversation partner broke in after the first part to share a story that related to it—and her. It ended up shifting the whole point of my story. She was so anxious to share her own information that she didn’t learn anything new.
Years ago, when I was in a religious education training workshop, the leader gave us a little class exercise. We were all to pair up with someone and explain to each other who our favorite saint was and why.
What do you think happened? Everyone spent so much time preparing their own little talk that they were focusing on that, even while the other person was talking.
Weren’t we surprised when the facilitator called on us to, individually, tell the class what the other person said. We were a bit embarrassed, too. In fact, some of us couldn’t even remember who the other person said their favorite saint was.
The result was that we got little new information. If our partner had had a problem to share, would our mind be so full of our own thoughts that we wouldn’t know what the other person’s needs were?
That is what our facilitator was trying to point out. Listening is as much a part of the conversation as talking is.
Sometimes, it’s even better.
Dorothy is the author of two books—“Miles and Miracles” and “Getting It All Together “. You can purchase a book or make a comment by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org